Experts worry over pandemic's toll on child development

COVID-19 lockdowns and stay-at-home orders may be long gone, but we're still dealing with the aftereffects of all that time we spent separated from one another, and new data is showing just how much it's still affecting young children, many of whom are struggling with basic social skills in the classroom. 

"These kids are really struggling," said Doctor Nava Silton, PhD, a Child Psychologist.

Health experts say young children are struggling to adapt to being around more people than just their families, as well as learning in a classroom setting.

"There was a COVID academic slump and a definite socialization slump," Dr. Silton said.


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Dr. Kaliris Salas-Ramirez, a neuroscientist, agrees with Dr. Silton that the pandemic created developmental challenges for toddlers and preschoolers.  Most people were wearing masks and young children were isolated at home, unable to play with other kids.

"So they couldn't develop their growth motor skills as well as fine motor skills," said Dr. Salas-Ramirez.

"They weren't able to get the facial cues that we typically get when we interact with others. They weren't able to learn how to take turns, how to regulate their emotions," said Dr. Silton. 

Experts say all is not lost, but it will take time and resources.

"We can get children caught up," said Dr. Salas-Ramirez.