Parents concerned about lockdown impact on children's development
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More than 60% of parents in East Anglia believe that lockdown has set back their children's development, new research has found.
A survey by nursery provider Busy Bees - which polled 1,000 parents by Onepoll - found that 61% of parents in East Anglia fear lockdown has had a detrimental impact on their children's development.
The study also found that 48% of children in the region have struggled with the lack of interaction during the pandemic, and more than two in 10 parents in East Anglia say their child isn’t as happy as they were.
Bec Jasper, from Parents and Carers Suffolk, said: "We won’t know the true impact of this for a long time.
"We’ve seen parents doing everything they possibly can to keep their children occupied and learning day after day but the fact is that some young lives have been very different to “normal"."
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The survey showed that a further 79% of parents are concerned the lack of social interaction over the last 12 months will have a negative impact on their child’s psychological and emotional well-being, while others fear developmental milestones such as being able to walk, toilet train and eat without help could be affected.
Jodie Cherry, centre director at Busy Bees at Ipswich Pinewood, said although the findings may look concerning they know "just how resilient children can be".
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She said they are "confident" children will bounce back in time with their family’s support.
"There are a few common signs that may be down to the lack of interaction over the past 12 months," Ms Cherry explained.
"This includes being less confident overall, sometimes less playful – some children have also become clingier displaying bouts of separation anxiety.
"We’d like to reassure parents that we are there for them if they are noticing these signs or behaviours in their child, and that there’s no reason why their children won’t regain any lost confidence and meet developmental milestones just as they were before the pandemic, given time, love and a nurturing environment.”
Ms Cherry said it was important for parents to address their own anxieties as well.
"Children can easily pick up cues, so it’s important to stay calm and confident," she said.
Busy Bees has released a guide with calming activities and breathing exercises for families to help them as we come out of lockdown.