Lockdown stress IS affecting babies and toddlers, says new study

If you thought you were having a hard time in lockdown, can you imagine what it must be like for your baby or toddler? He might be little, but make no mistake, his world has also been turned upside down.

Interviewed for a study commissioned by three of the leading parenting and children’s groups in the UK, seven in 10 new parents said their children’s development has definitely suffered because of the global pandemic.

The findings, published in the Babies in Lockdown report, revealed some babies were not interacting as usual, were becoming increasingly clingy and were crying more than usual.

ALSO SEE: Will lockdown affect my kids’ social skills development?

The study, which was based on surveys of 5000 new and expectant parents in the UK, also provided insight into how toddlers were being affected by the changes in their daily life.

Almost half (47%) of parents reported that their baby had become clingier. A third (34%) of respondents believed that their baby’s interaction with them had changed during the lockdown period and a quarter (26%) reported their baby was crying more than usual.

“The evidence is unequivocal that the first 1 001 days of a child’s life, from pregnancy to age two, lay the foundations for a happy and healthy life,” the report says.

“The support and wellbeing of babies during this time is strongly linked to better outcomes later in life, including educational achievement, progress at work and physical and mental health.

“Our survey suggests that the impact of COVID-19 on these babies could be severe and may be long-lasting. The pandemic will cast a long shadow, both in the increased stressors on caregiving relationships and in the secondary impacts on parents and babies themselves,” the report states.

This is what some of the moms had to say:

One mother, said: “I have been crying for hours on end, having anxiety and panic attacks which are all out of the ordinary for me. This has affected my 9-month-old son who has seen me experience this and has been more tearful and clingy with me.”

ALSO SEE: How to stop your lockdown frustration from affecting your kids

“My son is hating me working from home because he doesn’t understand why mama is ignoring him when he can hear me and is now super clingy with me. He had never had screen time or seen me use a mobile before this. Now most of his social interactions are online and he doesn’t understand why I am locked away 35 hours a week in the bedroom.”

Another mother, who has a 2-year-old and is five months pregnant, added: “My 2-year-old has become violent and is upset quite a lot of the time due to this. He’s finding it hard just seeing and being in contact with two people. I fear for the effects this lockdown will have on him later in life.”

A third mother said: “I planned to enrol my 15-month-old to a nursery school to help him with his social skills – he does not say words and is not responding to his name which worries me.”

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