Two thirds of parents say children’s language development impacted by Covid pandemic

Posted: 6th October 2021

Two thirds of parents said their children’s language development has been damaged by the pandemic, a survey has revealed.

Nearly half with three to eight-year-olds believe their concentration, reading, writing and socio-emotional skills were adversely affected by a lack of interaction.

Experts said of the 1,000 parents surveyed, 66 per cent blamed nursery and primary school closures as well as periods of lockdown for children’s language development suffering during “18 lost months”.

Language researcher Dr Jamie Lingwood, who worked with audio system Tonies to create a Steps of Storytelling guide for parents, said: “The upheaval has undoubtedly had an impact on children’s language uptake, and many parents will understandably be concerned.

“However, there is lots that parents can do to support their children and foster their language development.

“Reading to and listening to stories with your child can have a big impact on their language development.

“It has been shown that children who read regularly with an adult in the preschool years learn language faster, enter school with a larger vocabulary and become more successful readers in school.

“Audio is also increasingly being recognised as a tool that can improve literacy skills and vocabulary in an enjoyable, accessible way.

“For children who struggle to decode words, audiobooks and podcasts provide a great alternative to books – children can still be immersed in a narrative, while building vocabulary and improving comprehension.”

Dr Lingwood said a love of stories can have a life-changing impact on a child’s life prospects, their mental health, wellbeing, and educational achievement.

He said it opens up a world of new possibilities, driving social mobility and mitigating the effect of social inequality.

Parents also revealed telling their own stories elicits emotional responses with half of them noticing their children felt happier.

Pinky Laing, UK Partnerships at Tonies UK and Ireland, added: “It’s been a difficult time for parents: less contact with extended families, social distancing, and the wearing of face coverings in public have left children less exposed to conversations and everyday experiences.

“There will understandably be some concern that this has meant language, literacy and social development may not have been able to develop as hoped.

“We know how important early years development is to parents, and we want to support them to do as much as they can to foster a lifelong love of stories and literacy in their little ones.

“Our Steps of Storytelling guide has been created to help highlight some of the key milestones that children should be aiming for in their language development, and to reassure parents that these skills will grow over time. For parents looking for way to support their child’s development, the guide also provides helpful tips and advice – such as how to encourage reluctant readers, correct common mistakes and extend their vocabulary. We hope it will prove an informative and supportive resource.”


Source: Yahoo!News, September 2021

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