Lockdown Limits: ‘YouTube accent’ and social skills top list of nursery and school concerns as kids head back to the classroom

3rd September 2020

Being in lockdown has affected all of us in multiple different ways, however for young children their learning development has been impacted more than anything. With schools, childcare setting and extracurricular activities all closed, not only has a child’s physical learning been impacted but the learning they develop by interacting with peers too.

With the worst of lockdown behind us we wanted to discover which skills in particular childcare professionals believe young children will not have developed through lockdown. Therefore we asked 3,320 of our childcare providers just this.

The top skills that providers believe that children have missed out on in lockdown are:

1. Interacting with peers and other adults (selected by 95% of providers)

While this is a daily occurrence in normal circumstances, during lockdown many children will have seen no one other than their parents for months at a time. A crucial part in developing a child’s confidence and world awareness is in spending time outside of the home and learning to interact with other children and adults.

2. Communication and language (selected by 92% of providers)

Communication is a key part of learning in nursery; children spend time speaking and listening to each other, sharing stories, singing songs and learning how to follow instructions. The majority of providers (75%) also stated that for older preschool children and also primary school children there is a chance that they will have developed a slight American accent from more time watching YouTube videos and TV shows during lockdown. Providers say that being with peers in nursery should help their normal accent return.

3. Sharing (selected by 88%)

While children with siblings will have had to share at home, and can learn to share with adults, learning to share toys, pencils and play areas while at nursery helps to build a key personality trait that can have a lasting impact for the rest of their life.

4. Toilet training (selected by 85% of providers)

Providers are expertly trained in toilet training, and can work together with parents to help build confidence and guide children through this process, especially if they have got into a comfortable routine while at home.

5. Personal confidence (selected by 74% of providers)

It will have been easy for a lot of children to have grown into a safety bubble while at home during lockdown and this could potentially lead to nervousness when entering the outside world. A safe environment outside of their comfort zone such as nursery is the best place for children to build their confidence back up again.

6. Reading and writing skills (selected by 69% of providers)

Despite a parent’s best efforts, towards the end of lockdown enthusiasm may have dwindled for literacy skills. Once they return to nursery, children will be supplied with materials, exercises and have the tuition to develop a passion for writing and ease out any bad habits. Similar to writing, excitement about learning to read may have understandably slowed in lockdown. The nursery library and word games with other children, plus guidance from providers can help develop this key skill.

7. Emotional development (selected by 69% of providers)

Happy, sad, angry, envy, sympathy, frustration; learning how to process different emotions such as these is an essential part of growing up and is a key focus in any nursery.

8. Physical development (selected by 63% of providers)

From learning to take their first steps to being able to climb the monkey bars, there is a big period of development in between. Coordination, strength and confidence can all be worked on at nursery with providers.

Some of our providers also stated that unfortunately some children may have experienced safeguarding issues during lockdown with increased exposure to alcohol, drug or social abuse at home. Under normal circumstances, these children will have spent most days in nursery, interacting with other children and having a dedicated period each day in a positive environment. Therefore, these children may need extra attention when normality resumes, as trained providers can help them enjoy learning and playing with others in a safe environment again.

Thankfully children can now return to their childcare settings once again and the process of learning these skills will kick back in. However, if you’re still isolating or are worried about combating any learning lost, our providers have shared that the best way to get your child back on their development path is by demonstrating the skills yourself as children learn so quickly and pick up on interactions around them. If and when possible get family members and friends to do so too, whether it’s in person, socially distanced or via video call, any and all examples are valuable opportunities to boost your child’s learning.

Richard Conway, founder of Childcare.co.uk, said,

“Many parents will have undoubtedly done a fantastic job through lockdown of juggling childcare, education, work and day to day life, but there are some elements of growing up that can only be fully developed in a community environment where children are surrounded by their peers and guided by professionals.

“If anything, I hope that lockdown will have resulted in a greater appreciation for the tireless work that childcare providers put in every single day to ensure our children are developing these key skills at a critical part of their lives that can have lasting impacts for years to come.”

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