Are masks hurting children’s development? Experts answer the question

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October 31 2021 11:59 pm

(WTRF) – If you have young children and find your child is falling behind on their communication skills you aren’t alone.

Early development experts explain it all comes down to one common factor that all our children are now growing up with.

Experts believe masks could be impacting children’s development, at least for now.

They do look for verbal and facial cues and nonverbal cues of emotions, and so the mask wearing has made it a little bit harder for them to decipher emotional cues from just being about to see the eyes.

Kathy Herrington, Child Development & Family Studies Expert

Herrington is referring to about children under five, which are the ages when language development begins.

However, she said children are quick to bounce back.

The good news is children are very resilient, very adaptable, and most of the experts say that’s it’s probably just gonna be a short term effect.

Kathy Herrington, Child Development & Family Studies Expert

In the meantime, experts said there are ways to help children thrive the next time you communicate with your child while wearing a mask.

That includes getting your child’s attention before speaking, facing them directly with no physical or noise barriers and speak slowly and louder, but don’t shout. You can also use your hands, body language, and tone of voice.

Beyond that, experts believe those times you’re not wearing a mask; whether you’re nursing, feeding, kissing, or playing with your child, that could offset what’s hindering your child’s development.

Kathy Herrington, Child Development & Family Studies Expert

Experts say most parents won’t have to worry.

For most children, those short term little limitations and problems they have to deal with, most of them sail right through that, and within a year or two, they’re fine and just back to the way they were.

Kathy Herrington, Child Development & Family Studies Expert

If any parents out there are still concerned about their child’s language development, experts suggest a speech pathologist who can help you make sure your child is right on track.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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