The pandemic’s indirect effects on small children could last a lifetime

Article Summary:

“The number of pre-schoolers who would fail a benchmark test of academic, physical and emotional development rose about 13% globally in the pandemic’s first year, according to estimates by academics in Africa, America and Europe. They are likely to score lower marks during their school years; that could mean lower wages. UNICEF, the UN agency for children, thinks pre-school closures during 2020 alone could cost children $1.6trn in lost lifetime earnings, equivalent to 1.7% of global GDP. …

” … Stress and distraction made some parents more distant. LENA, a charity in Colorado, has for years used wearable microphones to keep track of how much chatter babies and their care-givers exchange. During the pandemic the number of such “conversations” declined. Jill Gilkerson of LENA notes that parents who had to start home-schooling older children might have had less time for little ones. But getting lots of interaction in the early years of life is essential for healthy development, so these kinds of data “are a red flag.”