THE EVERLASTING EFFECTS OF THE CORONAVIRUS ON YOUNGER CHILDREN
There is no denying that the coronavirus has affected everyone's lives worldwide, but what about the effects of Covid-19 on younger children? For children below the age of five, Covid-19 has brought on tremendous social changes that have resulted in troubling effects on their cognitive development.
The first five years of a child's life are spent developing crucial skills and undergoing significant developments. For example, children will develop fine and gross motor skills, speech and language, cognition, social and emotional skills. The need for these fundamental skills continuously appear in a human's daily life; even mundane activities such as picking up a pencil requires these skills developed at a young age. When school was in-person, teachers focused on growing a child's fine and gross motor skills. Teachers had children perform simple tasks like dating papers, building with blocks, completing puzzles, coloring with crayons, and even clapping hands. Students have not received the same hands-on experience with their teachers in online school as they usually would. As a result, many children have difficulty learning critical developmental skills during online school.
Additionally, due to the coronavirus, many children are quarantining at home and cannot develop social and emotional skills from a school environment. In schools, younger students learn how to interact with each other in a social setting. This environment where an adult doesn't always supervise a child can nurture a child's developmental growth.
Finally, at a younger age, human beings rely on facial expressions for communication. However, children have had a more challenging time understanding and learning facial communication because of social distancing, mask usage, and online school. While it may not seem like facial expressions and body language are important for social interactions, it is one of our primary forms of communication. Through collective experimentation, Minnesota State University's Communication Association determined that 93% of our communication is non-verbal. Therefore, understanding facial expressions is crucial for a child's development.
Undeniably, wearing masks, quarantining, and social distancing helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus; nonetheless, it has had negative impacts on young children’s development.