COVID-19: Survey shows Kiwi parents found their kids more irritable, short tempered and angry during lockdown

New Zealand's COVID-19 lockdown has made Kiwi parents worry more about their kids' behaviour, a survey has found.

Health insurer NIB New Zealand has released the findings from its second annual state of the nation parenting survey, shedding light on the concerns that have been top of mind for Kiwi parents this year.

It found that more than a third of parents found their kids more irritable, short-tempered and angry, during and immediately after lockdown.

Nathan Wallis, neuroscience educator and child development expert, says parents of toddlers were especially stressed out.

"It seems to be the toddlers' behaviour that's really gone into that misbehaviour category and then extended right until now," he told The AM Show on Monday.

Wallis said the COVID-19 lockdown brought an additional stressor to most families.

"I mean it's all about weighing up the stresses against the sort of resilience-building factors, and COVID and being locked up for everyone was an additional stressor." 

"If you're already in the middle of adolescence or you're already a toddler and you've got some sort of trauma going on in your life, then it can be the straw that breaks the camel's back."

Putting away devices for an hour each day could encourage kids and adults to communicate more effectively, Wallis said.

"If you've got a regular time every day where everyone's going to put aside their devices, people start to open up during that time."

"Have a ritualised time where the devices are put away and you encourage communication because mental health and wellbeing is all about communication."