CHEQ COVID Rapid Report 2021

The Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (CHEQ) is a questionnaire completed by parents and caregivers at the start of the kindergarten school year. It is an innovative way to learn about and report on children’s experiences in their early environments, focusing on specific areas of development that are strongly linked to children’s health and well-being, education and social outcomes. 

The information collected is valuable, providing insight into how communities and schools can support children and their families prior to school entry. 

This year, it is also providing meaningful information about the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This past September, in addition to completing the standard CHEQ questionnaire, families of kindergarten students in 19 school districts across British Columbia were asked additional questions that centered on the impacts the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is having on parents and caregivers, children and families. 

Findings from the CHEQ provide evidence of the challenges and changes children and families in communities in BC continue to experience during this pandemic. Of note, families report changes to job status and work hours, with 25% reporting decreases to family income during the pandemic. Over half of children are spending less than the recommended time being physically active in organized play, and 44% are spending more than the recommended time for preschoolers on screens. Parents and caregivers also reported negative experiences such as feeling less rested, less connected to family and friends, having less access to consistent child care, and less time for self-care. 

While some families indicate positive changes such as spending more time playing and eating together, overall, the pandemic continues to take a toll on families in BC. With all this in mind, it is not surprising then to see 42% of parents/caregivers reporting “high” or “very high” levels of stress.

For more information, please view the CHEQ COVID Rapid Report HERE.