Conversations are beginning about Generation C, the COVID-19 kids. While exactly which ages should be included in this generational label is under debate, what’s clear to researchers of child development is that COVID-19 has led to global shutdowns that have rattled economies, communities and families, and will affect children for years to come.
UNICEF reports the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of children and their families around the world, and that across virtually every key measure of childhood, progress has gone backward. The number of children who are hungry, isolated, abused, anxious and living in poverty has increased. Children’s access to learning environments, socialization, essential services, health, nutrition and protection has decreased.
More and more, we will see the impact of social isolation, the loss social skill development and trauma on young children. Some children will bear the scars of the pandemic for years to come. Addressing those scars, especially for our more vulnerable and at-risk children, is an urgent priority. Access to high-quality early childhood education and kindergarten is not the singular solution to these problems, but is a cornerstone.