Our past year has not been an easy one. Covid-19 shook the world in ways we never expected. One of those areas has been significant isolation for little ones. I have recently received an increase in inquiries about the impact of Covid-19 on child development, specifically in the area of language.
It is no easy task for you to try to maintain a jobs, home responsibilities, ensuring children are completing academic expectations, and endless other demands. On top of this, if you are raising a toddler, you’re faced with balancing their overall needs on top keeping your family safe
In a systematic review completed in September 2020, “The COVID-19 pandemic has produced high morbidity and mortality rates within the global population,39 as well as risk factors for healthy growth and development among children. The increase in parental stress, the suspension of classroom activities, social isolation measures, nutritional risks, children’s exposure to toxic stress, especially in previously unstructured homes, and a lack of physical activities are some of the factors found in the literature.”
Toddlers are faced with a very unusual way of living in our world right now. Their typical exposure to outside activities, whether that is daycare, parks, church, grocery store, zoo visits, vacations, play dates – all of these were taken away from them for greater than a year. And these activities are all a key role in child language development. Exposure to new things, people, scenery, - all of these external factors help in exposing your child to new ideas, problem solving, socialization, and language.
Please remember, this is not a time to beat yourself up as a parent. You are doing YOUR BEST in a very difficult situation. And working on language building tasks with your child does not always fall on the list of necessities, or even something you would be aware of that needs to be done.
Don’t stress – there are plenty of different ways to work on language with your little one while you are still at home. Don't put pressure on yourself or your child. Language activities do not have to be an extensive amount of time!
I will be sharing activities to try at home to help create more language opportunities for your little one. But for now, I will keep it simple. Find just 10 minutes in your day and sit down to play with your toddler. Whether that is with their preferred toy, pretend play with food, or getting outside. Just find some time to play! Be silly and give them 10 minutes that make their whole day.
Araújo LA, Veloso CF, Souza MC, Azevedo JM, Tarro G. The potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on child growth and development: a systematic review. J Pediatr (Rio J). 2020.