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Kids seriously impacted by pandemic may suffer developmentally, experts say

Current environment described as 'social hurricane'
Posted at 3:26 PM, Dec 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-14 15:26:39-05

There's growing concern among parents that the pandemic will impact development for their kids.

“It hasn't just been COVID, right? We've learned, you know, our youngest children have learned to fear other human beings,” said Dr. Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek, Director of Temple University’s Infant Language Laboratory.

Hirsh-Pasek is a professor of psychology and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She describes the current environment as a “social hurricane.”

Toddlers can't interact with each other and they pick up on the fear that their parents may have.

“We may think that we hide all of this from our children, but a lot of times we don't,” said Hirsh-Pasek.

She thinks most toddlers will recover in their developmental process. Eventually, they'll be back on playgrounds or in schools, learning and socializing with other kids and adults.

But kids from families that have been more seriously impacted by the pandemic may struggle more, especially kids whose parents lost their jobs or who come from underserved communities that have been hit harder by the virus.

“There will be some gaps they need to overcome, and I think we need to be prepared with mental professional to, to help all those children thrive,” said Hirsh-Pasek.

As Hirsh-Pasek points out, history has taught us most kids are resilient. We've lived through other crises before.

In the meantime, parents can help kids navigate how they're staying connected without face-to-face interactions.

Global Coronavirus Tracker:

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Data from The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.