The pandemic has caused many issues for all of us this year, as we were told to stay at home as much as possible and to limit interaction with people outside of our own households. And this has affected all of us, including young children who have had their routines interrupted.
Over the past few months, many young children have not been able to interact with as many people as they usually would have been able to. Socialising and meeting new people are important factors for a child’s development, just like learning through play.
As childcare professionals, we understand that parents may feel concerned with the lack of social activity options available for their children this year.
Socialisation in nurseries during the pandemic
Enrolling young children in a nursery can be an effective way for them to play, learn and build positive relationships with other children and adults.
Nursery settings can be incredibly beneficial to the wellbeing and development of young children. Relationships with peers of the same age are vital to enable children to develop social skills and interpersonal relationships with others.
Attending nursery or preschool can provide young children with a sense of normality, structure, and predictability during these turbulent times.
Here at Ashbourne Day Nurseries we have implemented safety procedures adhering to the government guidelines to ensure infection control.
Due to the difficulty in social distancing between young children we have put other precautions in place. We have split our children into rooms, these have the same team members with them on a daily basis. We also ensure we keep the children within each room in their own social bubbles to minimise the risk of infection. Children are also not mixed between rooms either inside or outside.
We have also removed soft toys and furnishings and other items that cannot be easily cleaned e.g. our sandpits, as this will help to minimise the risk of indirect transmission.
Other ways to socialise young children during the pandemic
There are also other ways to socialise your children during this difficult time when they are not in a controlled childcare setting.
Day-to-day life within the home, or socially distanced outside meetings with family members or other people within the community, offer excellent opportunities for social development.
Some suggestions to parents who may have found their children struggling socially during the pandemic are listed below. These can be a great way to boost child self-confidence.
It is ideal that children are still able to have social contact with those family members that they do not live with. Video calls are an excellent way for children to interact with others safely. This can be a great alternative, especially for children who are considered to be clinically vulnerable. Virtual play dates through video calls are also a wonderful way for children to continue seeing their friends safely.
Finding creative ways to create memories as a family during the pandemic will help to cement family bonds. Activities such as making a family time capsule or stargazing while roasting marshmallows are all excellent ways for parents to help their children build on their social skills while also creating memories that will last a lifetime.
The socialisation of young children is essential to allow them to develop their sense of self and confidence. The pandemic will not last forever, and we need to ensure that we are doing our best to limit any impacts on the social developed of our children. As childcare professionals ourselves, we ensure that the children within our care still have the opportunities to develop their social skills both in the childcare setting and in the home.