Lockdown babies found to struggle socially and emotionally

Health visitors in Northern Ireland are finding that many babies born during the pandemic are struggling with language skills and social development.

Some young children are also suffering from anxiety following months in lockdown.

Mother-of-two Maya Curry said there is a massive difference between her five year-old and her two year-old who was born during lockdown.

“My eldest is very open, very outgoing, goes to anybody. And then my youngest would happily just yell in anyone’s face who comes near him. He was born in the front room, he stayed in the front room. We stayed in the house for the next six months,” Maya said.

Susan Gault, who is head of Public Health Nursing at the Northern Health Trust, said some children are presenting with delayed social and emotional development, speech and language delays and toileting issues.

“I suppose that comes from children not being out and about mixing with other children. They are quite attached to their parents, because they have been with them for so long,” she said.

Primary school teachers are also finding some children are struggling socially and emotionally after being away from the classroom for so long.

“We have definitely seen a difference with those children missing out during the early years. I think really, the biggest thing we are seeing, is that heightened level of anxiety,” said Janice Marshall, Principal of Drumlins Integrated Primary School.

Despite concerns, health professionals do not believe the impact of lockdown on young children will have any long term damage.

“I think parents will get back into getting their kids out and about. Most kids are very resilient and will bounce back,” said Susan Gault.