Will lockdown impact my baby’s social skills?

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Even though lockdown measures are due to ease up over the next few weeks, that doesn’t automatically erase the experiences of being stuck at home for more than a year. The toll it has taken on our mental health. And what about all the lockdown babies? The generation who showed off their first few steps over Facetime? Who haven’t had a playdate, let alone an overnight stay with anyone other than their primary carers? You’re not alone if you’re wondering if lockdown will leave a socially-awkward-slightly-clingy mark.

Does my baby have ‘lockdown syndrome’?

OK, so lockdown syndrome doesn’t exist. I made it up. But, didn’t you just shudder at the sight of that phrase, thinking – what if my baby has been affected long-term from being in lockdown? It’s this concern that keeps creeping into my 1:1 sessions and DMs, so I thought I’d put your minds at ease.

If you’ve had a baby during lockdown and are worried that all that time at home will mean they won’t be able to socially interact with others, now and in the future, there has been no ‘damage’ as far as social development is concerned. Why? Because all of this uninterrupted time with their primary carer, is all a baby ever needs and craves.

Ask another expert...

I spoke to Lyndsey Hookway (Holistic Sleep Coach, pediatric nurse, author and multi-hyphen extraordinaire) recently as part of my Motherhood Expanded Membership and she said newborns and toddlers were the least of her concerns. 

She said: “Children go through a developmental sequence of how they play and how they interact with others and actually most children do not achieve collaborative, co-operative play with another child until about the age 4. It’s way later than people may think.”

She highlighted a key concern, that it’s older children who could be bearing the brunt of being in lockdown in the long-run. She said: “The children I’m worried about in this pandemic are the school age children, so 5 and upwards, because we would expect those children to be interacting with others.”

“I really can’t stress enough that I am so unbothered by the impact on babies and young toddlers. Am I bothered about parents? Parents being stuck in four walls with a small human to occupy? Absolutely! I’m really worried about parents.”

The unexpected benefits of lockdown parenting

Lockdown threw so much at us. Loneliness. Frustration. Stress. And that’s without factoring in a newborn somewhere in the mix. I’m not surprised when I read surveys like the Babies in Lockdown Report, but I do hate seeing click-bait headlines that scare parents into thinking that lockdown (something that was totally out of their control, but left for them to navigate behind closed doors) may have a negative impact on their babies development. 

Instead I want to help you reframe the lockdown experience, so that when your baby asks you as a teen what it was like, you can remember the good with the bad. Yes, you went to the park a bajillion times and used Duggee to babysit from time-to-time, but you were also given uninterrupted time with your new baby. You didn’t have to deal with surprise visitors or social calendars fit-to-burst with commitments that you dreaded attending. You were given the space to learn all about your new baby at your own pace. It wasn’t easy, but you did it.

Life after lockdown

Lockdown is not going to leave a long-lasting imprint on your baby, but it will forever be ingrained in your memories of those early months and years. So, let’s only retell stories of what we gained during this time. 

What will you tell your lockdown baby when they’re old enough to understand? I want to know over @MilliePoppins.

If you’re looking for a support network to guide you through the lockdown roadmap and beyond, then you’ll love my new monthly membership.

Want regular access to advice from actual experts and to surround yourself with like-minded mamas? My new membership was made for you…