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Should parents worry about pandemic impacts on small children?

The unfavourable circumstances unleashed by COVID-19 have not spared anyone, but the impact of it has been felt differently by different groups of people. For no other group does it have a permanent, irreversible, and irredeemable effect as in the case of children between 2-4 years.

It is a fact that early childhood years in a person’s life are the most crucial in terms of development of physical, sensorimotor, social, emotional, linguistic and cognitive faculties. Brain development is most rapid in these years and the rest of a person’s life in terms of learning and development is greatly determined by how they are nurtured in this phase.

Two years is a long time in the life of a young child. Is this era of masks, isolation and extra stress having a negative impact on our little ones? And if so, how deep and lasting will it be?

As we shift from pandemic to endemic — to learning to live with COVID-19 — some parents face a further set of worries.

For those children who are now 2 years old, the pandemic is all they've ever known. Even children who are 4 will have spent half their lives with masks, social distancing and at least some sort of lockdown or quarantine. To them, this is all the most normal thing.

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