How the Pandemic Is Affecting What Babies and Toddlers Learn

Still, she worries that her daughter isn’t getting enough face time with peers to be prepared for preschool when the time comes. “I see the difference when she is able to interact with other children,” she said.

Heather Superchi feared that her son, Luke, 4, was forgetting the advances he’d made socially and in speech. (Luke, an only child, has been more isolated than many other children; his premature birth has led to lingering health problems that make him at high risk for Covid-19.) “There has definitely been a little of that regression,” she said.

But with Songs for Seeds and a My Gym franchise near their home outside Denver, she said, “It’s preparing him in the way he has to pay attention and wait his turn, which I think are going to be very important when he goes to school.”

Sarah Burke, the mother of Gus Tracy, 2, said that when the pandemic first hit, “We leaned into screen time like a lot of parents did.”

Through Songs for Seeds, they noticed that Gus came alive during activities relating to the alphabet. Now, they try to recreate what Gus enjoys onscreen in their neighborhood in Brooklyn. “So, when we go out for walks, we search for ABCs in the environment, in streets signs, license plates and other people’s T-shirts,” Ms. Burke said. In terms of language acquisition, “I just really see things clicking for him.”

Gus’s alphabet city is an example of “the good news,” as Dr. Pressman said, that “we can practice many of these skills in everyday life,” including “executive-function-based skills such as self-regulation, emotion regulation, autonomy, perspective-taking, communicating, critical thinking and self-direction.”

“You can turn almost any home-based activity or interaction into an opportunity,” Dr. Pressman said, ticking off examples.


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