The Closure of Preschools and Schools as a Result of the COVID-19 Epidemic: The Well-Being of Children Ljubica Marjanovič Umek, Kaja Hacin Beyazoglu and Urška Fekonja
Summary: The aim of this qualitative study was to examine preschool and school children’s well-being during the closing of preschools and schools due to COVID-19 pandemic, based on children’s self-reports. We also aimed to examine children’s potential emotional and behavioural problems as well as the difficulties, faced by their parents during the epidemic. The sample included 40 preschool children (mean age was 5;6 years) and 17 school children (mean age was 7;5 years). Children’s reports on their well-being were collected through a semi-structured interview, while parents assessed the presence of emotional and behavioural problems in children, and also reported on their own workload, type of child care and the problems they have encountered during this period. Relatively most preschool children responded that they felt well, and slightly fewer felt unwell or well and unwell at the same time, while most school children felt unwell. Children reported both positive and negative aspects of the quarantine; social isolation from friends was most often reported as a negative aspect while school children also highlighted school work. Most children did not express pronounced behavioural and emotional problems. Furthermore, most parents emphasized problems with coordinating work responsibilities with spending time with their child and helping him/her with school work. The research findings offer the basis for considering the importance of opening preschools and schools during the epidemic and creating support for parents and children in effectively coping with its negative consequences.