Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Lockdown Effects – ‘Not the Same Child At All’


Wednesday 08 July 2020

Many children’s lives have changed dramatically in recent months due to the COVID-19 crisis. Researchers in Mary Immaculate College launched an online survey of parents of children aged 1-10 years in May 2020 to explore how these changes have affected children’s play, learning and development. The preliminary findings suggest that some children will need a lot of additional support in the coming months, which has implications for those who care for them. 

The Play and Learning in the Early Years (PLEY) Survey measured play activities at home, the factors that influence it and the impact of some of the restrictions on children. Over 500 parents completed the survey between 21 May and 3 June 2020. The initial findings indicate the closure of schools, creches, playgrounds and restrictions on physical movement and interactions has had a number of effects on many aspects of children’s lives, including on their play, their social relationships and emotional development.

The responses from most parents of children aged 1 to 5 years indicated that their child’s play has been affected by the restrictions (74%). Many children are spending more time on outdoor play than before the restrictions were introduced (78%), and also more time on screens (75%). A third of children in this age group have brought information about the virus or restrictions into their play. For example, one parent said “She wipes things down after seeing me do it” (Age 1), while another said “Play house - I asked to come in and he said I couldn’t because of the virus” (Age 3).

In addition to the effects that the restrictions have had on children’s play, there have been social and emotional effects also. Most of these young children are missing childcare (67%), their friends (84%) and playing with other children (84%). More worryingly, some parents have described their young child’s low mood, frustration and behaviour changes as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. For example, in relation to the changes parents have said:

  • “My daughter was attending creche. She was very out going and loved seeing her friends. Now she has become very very attached to mum and is cautious at first when she sees some one out of the family home. Before the virus she used to be so out going”. (Age of Child: 2 years, 6 months)
  • “Difficulty seeing people. Finds it strange to spend any time communicating with other people that are not her direct family members” (Age: 2 years, 6 months)
  • “She seems more subdued and wants to go to bed often” (Age: 2 years, 3 months).
  • “He is very spaced out, not the same child at all” (Age: 3 years, 1 month).
  • “He's sad and less willing to share” (Age: 4 years, 5 months).
  • “Emotionally a lot more demanding and behaviours have reverted to that of a younger child. Also he had speech issues which had much improved after speech therapy but this has also regressed” (Age: 5 years, 1 month).

The DCYA public health advice, and existing and new hygiene practices are of paramount importance for the safe reopening of early years settings in Ireland. However, children will likely be returning to a somewhat changed physical environment, with restrictions for health and safety reasons placed on who they can interact with, what they can play with and what they can do. This will be a further change for young children on top of the many other changes they have recently experienced, including for some the death of a family member. Many children returning to childcare in the coming weeks may not be the ‘same child at all’ that left childcare in March.

The play pod model proposed in Ireland will hopefully fulfil the aim of supporting ‘close, positive interactions between children and their adult caregivers’. However, the nurturing and responsive high quality care provided by early childhood professionals, alongside that of parents and health and social care professionals where needed, will be essential in supporting young children through this challenging period.


For useful advice and suggestions for early years professionals please see the recent blog ‘Pod Talk’ by Milica Atanackovic

PLEY Survey: Data analysis on the PLEY Survey is ongoing but some additional information on the early findings is available here

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Children and families(1) man up(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Belonging(3) Primary School(2) Dance(1) keep in touch(1) Elders(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) youdoodle(1) Mount Everest(1) Consent(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) social media(1) Investment(2) Adoption(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) staying connected(1) Touch(1) Storytelling(7) blog(43) Pobal(1) Online(1) E.coli(1) Prexit(1) Advocacy(1) Nonverbal(1) Malaguzzi(1) communication(4) MECPI(1) Inclusion(3) purpose(1) dining experiences(1) interacting(2) emotions(2) Playdough(1) Treasure Chest(1) Covid19 crisis(1) Visual Impairment(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Culture(2) Identity(5) Anthony Semann(1) Photographs(1) Early Years Educators(3) Super Shed Stories(2) outdoor environment(1) food(1) pets(1) Leargas(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Thanks(1) iOS(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Early Childhood Ireland(6) Eritrea(1) Sculptures(1) childcare services(1) Death(2) Quality(4) Impact(1) value(1) Anxiety(2) Communications(1) reopening(1) educarer(1) Thank you(1) Painting(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Kids Own(1) Performing(1) educating(1) Winter(1) UNCRC(2) Competent(1) ECEC Setting(2) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Qualifications(1) Self-Esteem(1) Síolta QAP(1) Positivity(1) PIP(1) awards 2020(1) Arlene Forster(1) ECCE(7) Mayo(1) Technology(3) Albert Einstein(1) dining(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) SAC(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Sessional service(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) christmas(9) CCTV(1) Digital(1) preschool(4) Exploring(1) science week(2) STEM(3) transitions(10) Children's Rights(3) Stress(2) Participation(2) Seas Suas(1) Oireachtas(1) Montessori(3) Siolta blog(8) Titles(1) Kilkenny(1) Running(1) listen(1) Sleep(1) Horizon 2020(1) social science(1) Magnavacchi(1) Intention(1) Bereavement(2) gender bias(1) maternity health(1) planning(1) respect(5) Identity and Belonging(4) Margy Whalley(1) continual professional development(1) Large Doll Play(1) Educators(2) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Trade union(1) Vertical grouping(1) imotion(1) Smiles(1) Maynooth University(2) Buddies(1) Leaders in Practice(1) experience(1) Socioemotional development(1) Scents(1) Maria Montessori(1) Your place(1) Reflective Practice(1) European Project(1) Document Learning(1) Childhood(1) Visitors(1) Shoes(1) Decision Making(1) education system(1) Youtube Series(1) Maynooth(1) Inspections(1) Child mental health(1) IGL(1) Learning through Storytelling(1) Family wall(1) Early Years Education(1) Inspirational(2) Little Buddies(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) Maths(6) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) School Age Childcare(1) Interactions(2) EECERA 2016(1) Children(4) trust(4) refugees(1) Spiders(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Awards(2) Irish guidelines(1) Builders(1) Mathematicians(1) Inter-generational(2) Scéalta Book Review(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Shapes(2) Iraq(1) Thinking(1) Supernanny(1) Social Skills(1) Plastic(1) online training(1) community(5) Frosty the Snowman(1) DES Inspection(1) Academics(1) Rich Documentation(1) Cognitive development(1) Workplace Relations(3) Arithmetic(1) Upcycling(1) Sociodramatic play(1) annual conference(1) Rituals(1) racism(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Research Seminar(1) Inter-generational learning(2) NAEYC(1) Meal time(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Facebook(1) Mark Twain(1) family time(1) Trade Unions(1) Counting(1) early years research(2) Seanchaí(1) Routines(2) Santa(2) Certificate(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) Childcare(3) Self-regulation(1) Learning journals(1) Graduate(1) Nutrition(1) early life(1) outdoors(4) scéalta(47) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) play pods(2) ReCreate(2) Xbox(1) reopening ireland(1) Scéalta Blog(100) Yoga(1) Home Corner(1) Design(1) stories(3) learners(1) Pen green(1) dublin(2) developing motor skills(1) Digital Devices(1) under 3's(3) Maternity Leave(1) Blocks(1) Engineering(3) Leprechauns(1) Child Care(1) Behaviour(3) Gardening(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Research Conference 2019(1) babies(7) Budget 2018(1) Laughter(1) Cork(1) Christmas Creativity(2) NCCA(3) Awards Night(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Wesco(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) ERASMUS+(3) Grief(1) Masterclass(2) reading(5) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Workplace well-being(1) Maths Week(1) Irish(1) Diversity(1) Workforce(1) Fabric(1) Confident(1) pablo(1) RIE philosphy(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Japan(1) Staff Motivation(1) Love(3) Valentine's Day(3) Magda Gerber(1) EM Standing(1) Through the looking glass(1) San Miniato(4) parents(6) lockdown(1) Gratitude(1) Magic(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) Snacks(1) Obesity(1) Fee Play(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) code of ethics(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) play therapy(1) apps for children(1) Wilenski(1) Universal Design(2) Fantasy play(1) Easter(1) Policy(2) Educator of the Year Award(3) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Snakes(1) Story(2) conversations(1) Learning Story(1) Early Years(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Window(1) Recycle(1) CPD(1) ELC(1) Sustainable(1) Light table(1) Well-Being(10) Relaxation(1) outdoor play(6) Engagement(1) Norway(2) Interaction(1) Time Out(1) bonds(1) Sustainability(3) Infection Control(1) Drawing(2) Motor neuron disease(1) Event Guide(1) Sport(1) creche(1) Study Trip(1) supportive environments(2) journey(1) Craft(1) Teamwork(1) Engineers Week(2) Síolta(128) outdoor space(3) Arts(1) friendships(1) Learning Story Awards(2) Kerry(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Equality(1) grandchild(1) Challenges(1) listening(1) ears(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) College(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Settling in(4) Community involvement(1) AsIAm(2) Limerick(1) Family(1) Exercise(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) curiosity(3) behavioural science(1) Names(1) Confidence(1) emotional environment(2) Learning Stories Award(3) learning hub(1) Interests(1) art of the relationship(1) Leadership(1) Brain(1) National Awards 2018(2) Whole Group(1) Awards 2018(3) Administrative Burden(1) Budget 2020(1) story time(2) child-centred approach(1) Games(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) AIM(2) Academic Skills(1) june29(1) Traditions(2) First 5(1) code of professional responsibility(1) Children's Voice(1) Feeding(1) bloom app(1) Snack Time(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) Pedagogy(2) Budget 2019(2) Support(1) play pod(1) Line-ups(1) peer group(1) early years learning(1) Exploratory Play(1) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Decisions(1) keezy(1) Care-giving routines(1) Return to Work Training(1) Independence(1) Loss(1) GoToMeeting app(1) collaboration(1) National Holiday(1) mushrooms(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) Hand Hygiene(2) Graduation(1) science(3) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Meet the Members(1) Pobal sector profile(1) phone apps(1) learning(19) Penguins(1) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) Flowers(1) memories(1) Mud kitchens(1) feisty(1) Human Resources(1) Exclusion(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Pre-School Services(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Queues(1) Map(1) early childhood(1) Reggio(1) INTO(1) Building Resilience(1) Environment(2) Weather(1) ICBN(1) Mental Health(4) eating(1) Treasure(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Affordability(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) Children's Research Network(1) First 5 strategy(1) development(8) Degree(1) Loving Relationships(1) Mixed age groups(3) The Jelly King(1) Training(2) Celebrations(4) documentation(4) conference(1) Reading Time(1) Breathing(2) Music(3) learning bias(1) Italy(1) Recycling(2) Exit interview(1) aistear blog(3) risk(2) Communicating(1) coronavirus(1) Pretend Play(1) movement behaviours(1) Giraffe(2) Autism(4) Awards 2019(1) Mealtimes(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) environments(1) animals(2) Effect of Lockdown(1) Glitter(2) Covid pandemic(2) Special Needs Assistants(1) Creativity(5) Infectious diseases(1) Creative(1) Laugh(1) Syria(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) emotional well-being(1) show and tell(1) education(2) Engineering Ireland(1) Frustrations(1) Book Review(1) ECEC(3) role playing(1) TRAP(1) life long learning(1) National Awards 2019(1) children’s learning(1) mental health problems(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) New Appointments(1) Self Help Skills(1) Performance Management(1) UN(1) worries(1) Book Club(2) curriculum(5) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) play(35) Jenga(1) Learning Journal(2) research submissions(1) Wonder(1) children development(1) primary education(1) Appreciation(1) Playschool(1) Time(1) books(4) Aistear(124) responsive relationships(1) play stories(2) UD(1) gender stereotype(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) baby room(1) Wendy Lee(3) Our Little Seed(1) Ceremony(1) Vietnam(1) risky play(2) Professionalisation(5) Opportunities(1) Reopening Childcare(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Funding(1) Learning Stories(9) University(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Small World Play(1) risk assessment(1) Biting(1) early childhood educator(2) Sequins(1) COVID-19 landscape(1) Care routines(1) Mantra(1) Sweets(1) Body Language(1) healthy eating policies(1) Potential(1) toddlers(3) World Health Organisation(1) CIT(1) Summer(1) linc(1) Trigonometry(1) Mindfulness(2) dogs(1) Imagination(3) HR(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Party(1) RTE Investigates(1) research(6) meals(3) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Orla Kenny(1) overhear(1) Role play(1) MA(1) Afghanistan(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Trick or treat(1) Reggio Emilia(1) Change(1) Covid response(1) DCYA(6) Iceland(1) Favouritism(1) TOY Programme(1) Art(6) Ariana Pucci(1) Patterns(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Traffic Lights(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Twitter(1) Lego(2) Mo Scéal(1) Health(2) Celebrate(1) Capable(1) Plants(1) United Nations(1) GDPR(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) budget(1) Employee(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) preschool settings(1) Empathy(1) COVID-19(11) Wrapping paper(1) Buddy Bench(1) child-centric(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) SPICE Framework(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) relationships(17) UNICEF report(1) Halloween(2) routine(2) Dr. Emer Ring(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) structure(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine