Objective: In this study, we explore parent perception of children’s physical activity and screen time during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.
Methods: We interviewed 16 parents of children ages 5-12 years in the St. Louis, Missouri region using snowball sampling. We sampled from rural, urban, and suburban areas. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using a priori and emergent codes.
Results: The transition to virtual school and work transformed daily activities. Physical education requirements varied, generally perceived as not contributing to overall physical activity. Parents perceived the amount of physical activity as the same or increased but reported an increase in screen time. The physical environment of the home, yard, and neighborhood emerged as a theme as did the social environment for physical activity.
Conclusions: COVID-19 stay-at-home orders created challenges for children’s physical activity. Results can be used to inform more generalizable studies and serve as a basis for creating better parent resources to support their children’s physical activity outside of ordinary school, sport, and community activity opportunities.