The pandemic also strained many families. The death of loved ones, job losses, financial worries, remote learning, social isolation, and the demands of child and elder care all took a heavy toll, Walsh said.
“The key point is families have experienced extreme stress and strain over the course of this prolonged pandemic,” Walsh said. She said her research shows that families do best when they share positive values, take a creative approach to problem-solving and have the flexibility to adapt.
“Those families that can pull together and practice resilience are doing well, and it actually strengthens their bonds,” she said.
That was certainly the case for Eugene Brusilovskiy, a statistician living in suburban Philadelphia. He said the pandemic allowed him to be with his daughter, who was born during the early months of the virus’s spread. Since he was working from home, he and his wife decided not to put her in day care as originally planned.
“I was involved in every routine, everything from feeding her to changing her diapers,” Brusilovskiy said. “I was able to spend real quality time, to go on walks and watch all of those first milestones that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.”
Although many people are limiting their activities now with the omicron-driven resurgence of the coronavirus, it’s possible that once schools reopened in 2021 and kids returned to their extracurricular pursuits, parents fell back into earlier habits, said Melissa Milkie, a University of Toronto sociologist.