Have there been any challenges in children’s language development in the post covid era?

There is beginning research about the effects of living with the pandemic. One area of interest has to do with spoken language development and the impact the pandemic has had on normal language development. Young children who are masters at interpreting the language spoken around them, interpreting facial expressions, body language, etc., may be challenged if they are in a mask-wearing environment. 

Children who spent lots of their time within the family may not have needed to develop spoken language as their needs were interpreted by someone else and thus eliminated the need to speak. Many children during the pandemic spent much more time on screens than they normally would, which always hurts language development.

Some anecdotal evidence is being accumulated which will stimulate research into the issue. This situation means that, as the adults in charge of the community, we need to understand all the ages and stages of normal language development and record observations of children who appear not to have mastered various milestones in normal language development.

Perhaps it would be helpful to contact a speech pathologist to discuss therapeutic techniques that could be used as ‘games’ with all the children. Discuss concerns with the parents; convince parents of the need to eliminate screen time – especially in children under the age of three years and especially for children with delayed language.

Dramatically increase the number of sets of language materials for vocabulary enrichment – at all age levels. Engage the children in conversations, story-telling, and reading always with the encouragement of discussions with the children, asking the children to participate in the conversations – not just listen to language. 
Trust the organising power of the human intellect; remember the power of the absorbent mind. Be a role model by using lots of language and enticing children to play with words!

Group of children talking together