Should you be worried about your toddler’s development during COVID-19?
Social interaction is an important part of development – especially for kids and teens. But what about babies and toddlers? Pediatrician Stacey Cobb, MD, explained why parents should not worry.
“For kids ages 0–3, we emphasize the interaction of the baby with their parent or caregiver. At that age, it is the one-on-one interaction that fosters the development of those early skills,” said Dr. Cobb.
The social skills babies and toddlers develop before age 3, like recognizing colors and learning to speak, are things they learn from their parent or caregiver.
“While interaction with other little kids at this age is a wonderful addition, it isn’t the core relationship that drives those developmental milestones – socially or otherwise,” she said.
You can support your child’s development during these early years through these activities:
- Read to your child.
- Sing to your child.
- Talk to your child.
- Play age appropriate toys with your child.
“If you are making dinner or a snack, just say out loud what you are doing. This makes it a learning opportunity for your child, all while you are still able to complete a task you need to complete,” said Dr. Cobb.
Is screen time appropriate for a baby or toddler?
Dr. Cobb said a little screen time is okay, because watching a quick video can help you remember nursery rhymes you may have forgotten.
“The idea is to watch 10–15 minutes of a developmentally appropriate program with your child to refresh your memory. Then turn the screen off and sing that song or complete that activity with your child. It is more effective for children to get that interaction with their parent or caregiver versus watching a screen,” she said.
Should I still take my child to well-check visits during COVID-19?
Well-child checks with your child’s pediatrician are still important, even during a pandemic. This is not the time to stop going to your appointments. “Doctors’ offices are taking precautions to keep everyone safe and protected,” said Dr. Cobb.
“Fortunately, for the age group 0–3, we aren’t seeing negative developmental impacts because this age group still has their primary teacher with them – their parent or caregiver,” said Dr. Cobb. Their most powerful influence is still you and you have the ability to be the teacher your child needs.
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