Babies Born During Lockdown Are Behind in Language Skills

Observational research found the pandemic stunted children developmentally.

QUICK FACTS:
  • According to a recent study by Irish academics, infants born during the COVID lockdown had a lower likelihood of speaking before their first birthday than infants born before.
  • Children were found to be less likely to be able to accomplish so-called developmental milestones seen as the standard before the pandemic.
  • The study, “Social communication skill attainment in babies born during the COVID-19 pandemic,” found babies were 14% less likely to have said their first word by their first birthday.
  • Children were, on average, behind on things such as waving “goodbye” and pointing at things, according to a study sponsored by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
REASONS FOR THE DELAYS:
  • Face masks, according to researchers, prevented youngsters from learning to talk by limiting their capacity to view mouths and acquire facial emotions. It is also believed that restricting visitors from the parents’ friends and family was a factor in the social development of the kids.
  • “Lockdown measures may have reduced the repertoire of language heard and the sight of unmasked faces speaking to [infants],” a statement from researchers reads. “It may also have curtailed opportunities to encounter new items of interest, which might prompt pointing, and the frequency of social contacts to enable them to learn to wave bye-bye.”
  • “They were still more likely to be crawling… which might be because they were more likely to have spent more time at home on the ground rather than out of the home in cars and strollers,” the statement continued.
BACKGROUND:
  • Another study revealed that average IQ scores of young children who were born during the pandemic have fallen as much as 22 points as verbal, motor, and cognitive performance have all seen a drop.
  • Yet another study that was published by the Royal Society Open Science journal indicated that the lockdown in the United Kingdom caused clinical depression in about 60,000 children, and some numbers estimate that 400,000 British children were referred for mental health care during the same time period.