Friday, August 20, 2021

Parents of Young Children are Very Concerned about Keeping Kids Healthy from COVID, Social-Emotional Development, as New School Year Begins

Parents of Young Children are Very Concerned about Keeping Kids Healthy from COVID, Social-Emotional Development, as New School Year Begins

Families can text the word HEART to 274 448 for expert tips and activities by text message to support social-emotional learning, transition back to school


DENVER, Aug. 19, 2021 -- According to a new national survey of more than 400 parents with children ages 2-8, three-quarters of parents say they are concerned about their children's social and emotional learning, and the majority of parents are not comfortable with sending their children to school in person this fall. Only 26% of respondents said they were comfortable with in-person schooling, and 95% reported concern over their child catching COVID.

The survey, conducted this week by Bright by Text and Big Heart World, was shared via text message with parents across the country as school systems begin to open for the new school year.

Many parents said they are nervous about school protocols, including lack of mask mandates, large class sizes, and fewer options for remote learning. Parents remain concerned about community events as well, with only 10% of parents saying they are comfortable participating in indoor events with their children without masks; 48% being comfortable with indoor events if participants are masked; and 15% of families reporting not being comfortable with any group activities at this time.

Another top concern was children's social-emotional development. Parents reported more concern over social-emotional development than academic learning. Seventy-five percent of parents said they were concerned about their children's social and emotional learning, compared to 58% of parents who said they were very concerned or a little concerned with academics this school year. Only 31% of respondents indicated they were "very confident" in helping their child with social-emotional learning.

Earlier this summer, Bright by Text and Sparkler Learning launched a Big Heart World texting campaign to send parents and caregivers actionable tips to help them support their young children's social and emotional learning — a timely need right now.

Families with children ages 2-8 who want to receive the text messages can text HEART to 274 448. These messages — free and available in either English or Spanish — help parents guide their kids to grow big hearts, answer big questions, and support their children's healthy social and emotional development. The HEART campaign is fueled by Big Heart World, a social and emotional learning initiative presented by Sparkler in collaboration with Noggin, Nickelodeon’s interactive learning service for preschoolers.

The majority of survey respondents say that as a result of these text messages, they have talked to their children about a social-emotional topic (such as feelings, friends and diversity) and have tried an activity from the messages with their child.

Families who opt in to the service will also receive information from trusted organizations in their area, such as children's hospitals and health departments, with information about events, resources and keeping their children healthy.

"We know that text messages work: 95% of Bright by Text subscribers say our messages make them a more confident caregiver," said Jean McSpadden, President and CEO of Bright by Text. "We are proud to work with Big Heart World and other partners to address parents' biggest concerns as kids get back to school this year."

About Bright by Text
Bright by Text, a national non-profit, sends free text messages to parents and caregivers across the country to give every child the brightest possible start in life. Through tips, information, games and resources, Bright by Text is proven to build nurturing caregiver-child relationships, strengthen families, promote a child's healthy development, and improve school readiness. Messages are timed to a child's exact age, prenatally through age 8, and offered in both English and Spanish.

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @BrightbyText (EspaΓ±ol - Facebook and Instagram)

About Big Heart World
Big Heart World is a social and emotional learning initiative produced by Sparkler Learning in collaboration with Noggin, Nickelodeon's interactive learning services for preschoolers, that enables parents and educators to help children explore what it means to have a "big heart" and how to grow one. Big Heart World brings together partners, including Bright by Text, Too Small to Fail, the National Head Start Association, First Book, School Library Journal, and many others to help parents, caregivers, and educators support children's social and emotional growth.

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @BigHeartWorld

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Press release via PR Newswire.

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