In order to develop social skills, young children need to interact with other people. They need to see peoples' faces. Some parents worry that facemasks and social isolation could negatively impact their kids' social development.
Dr. Jodi Boerger Wilder, a child psychologist with Essentia Health, says that healthy social development is rooted in a child's relationship with the primary caregiver.
"When young children have a secure attachment relationship with that primary care provider, they really are set up to succeed in their environment and in other relationships," says Wilder. "The brain is an amazing things and children are incredibly resilient. I think, for the most part, they're going to be OK as long as we're doing that engagement."
She says facemasks make reading social cues challenging for people of all ages. But social foundations made in the home setting, where people are not wearing facemasks, will translate into normal social development in the future.
Wilder adds that kids' development is at risk if the primary caregiver can't engage with the child, because of depression, stress or other issues. She urges all caregivers struggling with mental health issues to reach out to their own health care providers for help. And if you are concerned that your child may not be meeting developmental milestones, be sure to contact your health care provider for evaluation.
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