Impact of COVID-19 Restrictions on Early Child Development
An international consortium with researchers from 13 countries has investigated the impact of Covid-19 related social isolation measures on 2,200 young infants and toddlers between 8 and 36 months of age. Their findings provide insights into the effects of lockdown on language acquisition and screen time in the generation of youngsters growing up during this extraordinary period. During the lockdown, children who were read to more frequently were reported by their caregivers to have learned more words, relative to their peers who were read to less frequently. However, children with increased exposure to screens learned to say fewer words, relative to their peers with less screen time.
Increased screen time is precisely t attributed to the unprecedented circumstances that families found themselves in during lockdown, including but not limited to the closure of daycare centres, sports facilities, and playgroups for children. Many caregivers were in the novel situation of caring for and entertaining their young infants at home all day without recourse to other activities and in addition to their other responsibilities.