BOKS PROGRAM POSITIVELY IMPACTS KIDS’ MENTAL HEALTH & WELLBEING DURING PANDEMIC

Study by Dalhousie University demonstrates the importance of physical activity and social connection for kids during COVID-19 lockdowns.

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COVID-19 has caused widespread disruption to schools, youth sports and many leisure activities. As a result, children’s overall wellbeing and physical activity levels have been significantly impacted. During this challenging time, the Build Our Kids’ Success (BOKS) program has provided many children a safe environment to participate in physical activity.

For some children, BOKS may have been their only source of regular physical activity during the pandemic.

Results of the eight-week study showed that during times of uncertainty and increased stress, the BOKS program can be used as a tool to improve a child’s overall wellbeing. Despite challenges brought on by the lockdowns, parents of participating students noticed improvements in their child’s mood, energy level and sleep.

Key findings from the research showed that after two months of BOKS participation:

  • Decrease in children’s psychological stress and sleep disturbance.
  • Improvements in peer relationships, cognitive function and life satisfaction.
  • Noticeable changes in children’s mood, behaviour and ability to resolve conflict.

of BOKS trainers believe that BOKS had at least some impact on children's mental health , with 12.6% believing it had a great impact during the pandemic.
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of BOKS trainers believe that BOKS had at least some impact on children's physical health , with 11% believing it had a great impact during the pandemic.
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Typically delivered in-person at schools and youth organizations, BOKS adapted its physical activity programming for a virtual environment at the onset of the pandemic. Through these digital offerings, which included 25-45 minute physical activity plans, teachers and volunteers were able to keep kids active while at home. Dalhousie was able to conduct its research through a series of surveys and in-depth individual interviews with students in Grades 4-6, their parents/guardians, and program leaders responsible for administering the BOKS program.

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Children experienced a significant decrease in psychological distress and sleep disturbance after after two months of BOKS participation.

Improvements in peer relationships, cognitive function and life satisfaction after two months of BOKS participation.

Noticeable changes in children’s mood, behavior and ability to resolve conflict after two months of BOKS participation.

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