The Impact of COVID on Young Children and Families and Ways to Support Resilience
About this session
The over one million deaths in the United States from COVID-19 have impacted on young children who have lost parents and caregivers. The loss of a parent can be devastating for development and for very young children can lead to emotional and behavioral dysregulation for the short-term and overall well-being over time. These losses can be devastating for the development and long-term well-being of all children, including very young children, leading to emotional and behavioral dysregulation, regressions in sleeping, eating, toileting, difficulties with attachment, problems in day care or preschool, and mental health issues that are likely to increase over time without supportive interventions. It has been estimated that in the United States, over 200,000 children lost a parent or caregiver to COVID-19 through December 2021, many of whom may have been their only within household caregiver. Racial and ethnic disparities in caregiver loss exceed disparities in COVID-19 deaths. Disparities are even higher in children losing their only caregiver, which creates even more acute mental health, educational, and community concerns requiring attention. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the losses without needed supports are much greater than those following natural disasters. Caregiver deaths due to COVID-19 are a significant threat to the functioning of children and families, compounding additional challenges to physical and mental health already impacted by economic and other stresses in families. Early childhood and community settings can play a key role in providing a caring environment to support resilience for young children through listening, being emotionally available and present for them.
Intended Audience: Early childhood community professionals
- Participants will recognize the impact of trauma and the COVID-19 pandemic losses on young children and families, including the inequities in losses.
- Listeners will gain more information about how these losses can impact on young children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development.
- Participants will be able to acknowledge what is most important to support recovery and resilience in young children impacted by trauma and losses.