KATY, Texas – A new study is shining a light on the impact the pandemic has had on the development of newborns/infants born during the pandemic.
However, the issue may not be limited to that generation.
Ask any pediatrician or cognitive specialist and they’ll tell you delays in crawling, talking, writing, are happening to kids everywhere.
“The way we changed [and] altered our social interactions, our sensory experience, and exposure for our kids, which does have an impact on development,” said board-certified cognitive specialist and Vice President of Brain Balance Rebecca Jackson.
What’s the source of the issue?
Many are quick to point to stress during pregnancy in regards to newborn/infant-related issues.
For older children, a year without face-to-face learning may be to blame.
According to Jackson, the reasons might be even more obvious.
“What we’re seeing is families operated differently these last two years, where you weren’t bringing your kids along to the store unless you absolutely had to,” she explained. “I don’t want parents to feel any guilt with this, we all functioned the way we needed to based on changing information and changing circumstances.”
Why is sensory development important?
“Our ability to take in sensory input, and sensory information, and our physical movement, and coordination as well as the developmental foundation to develop age-appropriate attention and focus,” Jackson explained. “Impulse control, cognitive memory, and logic and reason and attention. So, it’s that chain of events and that’s why at Brain Balance if a child is struggling with something like handwriting, we’re not practicing handwriting itself, we’re going back to make sure those developmental milestones that lead to the ability to control your fine motor [skills] have been addressed so the child has the tools to develop those age-appropriate skills.”
Tips to offset pandemic-related delays
1. Find safe ways to expose your children to people beyond family and caregivers
2. Spend time playing outside at parks with all ages
3. Visit the grocery store or a library to see different colors and movement
4. Create time to singularly focus on your baby without distractions such as siblings or technology
5. Play with as much variation in sensory exposure as possible
“Something as simple for your kids as going from dirt to grass to concrete while barefoot (if it’s not freezing cold outside) provides them a sensory experience,” Jackson said. “Finding safe ways to get our kids outside of our home, outside of their daily care environment and expose them to textures, sights, sounds, smells, people, colors and movement is one of the simplest, most critical things we can do as parents right now.”