Child development hit by lack of play


A rapid review of emerging international and UK evidence on the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on children’s early physical development suggests there have been substantial changes to children’s lifestyle and behaviour putting their healthy development at risk.

child playing indoors

The report, titled Growing up in the Covid-19 pandemic An evidence review of the impact of pandemic life on physical development in the early years, outlines how lockdown and closed services have impacted children in the early years, and says there have been a “substantial changes” to children’s lifestyles and behaviour as a result of the pandemic. It finds that the pandemic has “disproportionately and adversely” impacted vulnerable children, putting their physical development at greater risk.

Concerns highlighted include those relating to more time spent inside: decreases in physical activity and increases in sedentary behaviour (screen time); and increased risk of vitamin D deficiency; as well as changes in diet and increased food insecurity.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, commented:

We are very concerned about the extent to which children’s physical development has been affected by the pandemic. Practitioners have been reporting notable differences in children’s physical development since reopening their settings in June of last year – especially in urban areas where homes are often smaller and there are fewer opportunities to play outside.

For more on this story go to the EYA website.

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