Reflections on our recent webinar – The Developmental Impact of Covid on the Under 5s

“Our children will be looking to us to model this and to live a full-hearted, thoughtful and hopeful life”

As a springboard into our webinar presentation and discussion a few of our Early Childhood Educators were interviewed and asked to share their reflections on what lessons and insights COVID has offered us. Their insights are revealing, intelligent and affirming. Their voices are confident and clear, and provided a lively entry into the online event.

Anthony Semann, our guest speaker so thoughtfully addressed many of our common concerns around the impact of COVID on young families, whilst shining a light on the beautiful little nuggets of goodness we may have experienced over the past couple of years.  

The very affirming message was that the Coronavirus did not stop children from developing; rather, their development would have continued and yes, may have been a little different to what we might have expected, or imagined. We were reminded that this should not be too concerning as chances are, our children would have had different childhoods to our own, anyway.

Mr Semann shared the importance of acknowledging that many children, even if they didn’t know it, could have been experiencing higher doses of stress as family life as we knew it was turned upside down and inside out. Living in long periods of lockdown, working from home, staying in a tight family bubble, with limited opportunities to enjoy ordinary, everyday things, on our own, without an end in sight, all would have contributed to an unusually stressful, and extended period of angst.  

On the flip-side of this, was the evidence that children benefited greatly from a slower, less pressurised childhood experiences. Children formed very secure and loving attachments to the people in their world, and were able to develop confidence and courage that we have not seen before. Whilst parents missed out on so many of their anticipated big days, children were able to bounce back, push through their disappointments and look forward to alternative or future experiences without too much sadness.

Anthony acknowledged too, that many of us are living with what has been termed COVID-fatigue – and we need to learn how best to take care of ourselves. He said that as responsible adults we do need to maintain our own wellbeing if we are to care for and look after others. We need to be able to assess and replenish our own stores of energy. We must learn to pay attention to our own ‘sinking thinking’ and wherever possible, transform our perspective to one of hope, reminding ourselves what we do have, what we can do, and who we are (outside of COVID). He said most important in the moments of feeling helpless, is to know we are not alone; every single person on our planet is having to deal with this; and that whilst our personal circumstances might be different, the way we respond is the one thing we can control.

Anthony reminded us that our children would have relied on us, their parents and educators, to be their guides, helping to lead the way, as the global community navigated the constantly changing rules and protocols and impending gloom of living through a pandemic. He articulately was able to leave us with a message of hope, one that I certainly, have chosen to take away and keep close to my heart, feeling reassured and comforted as we continue to navigate the ongoing precarious and unchartered landscape of our world as it is in March 2022.

Cathy Milwidsky
Head of Early Learning & Development
Moriah College

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