How Social Distancing Will Affect Children’s Social Development

Written by Liam

*This article was written in the summer of 2020 and is reflective of the information available at that time

Social distancing has made everyone feel lonely at times. Spending long periods of time away from peers is not healthy in general, but how will it affect kids who are trying to learn how to interact and grow socially?

As children mature, their friends and peers become a more important hub for their social development than their immediate family. Because they are able to have a wide variety of perspectives of themselves, they are able to grow socially and reflect on what they need to learn.

This is why the stay-at-home order can stunt the social growth in developing children. Some experts are saying the kids will be able to bounce back if the isolation only lasts a few more months. If not, there should be no significant difference if kids are able to keep in touch with their friends online and receive more parental attention.

For kids under 5, social distancing can have the opposite effect. For children under 5, the best way to develop social skills is to spend time with their parents. Infants and toddlers especially need time with their parents to get their attachment needs met.

There are pros and cons to the stay-at-home order in regards to social development, but overall the factor will be how every family compensates for loss of interaction and how they will keep their kids in touch with other kids.