Parents nowadays tend to be more isolated from their extended families and other support networks (friends, etc.) than a few decades ago. The reduced social interaction can result in a lack of support and exchange experiences, which can increase stress levels and impact the mental health of both carers and children.
Young children – babies and toddlers- who are not yet attending formal schooling are often enrolled in non-formal programmes such as play groups or in child care, but this is less common for families from a disadvantaged background (migrants, ethnic minorities, low socio-economic background, etc.). In fact, children from vulnerable groups are often excluded from ECEC programmes or attend segregated low-quality services.
In these times of pandemic, isolation is affecting all families, but is hitting families with very young children and vulnerable families even harder. ICDI is directly witnessing this phenomenon in Europe and beyond, through our programmes such as TOY for Inclusion and Making the first 1000 days count!
In this period supporting carers and offering opportunities to young children to continue to access health, social protection and early learning programme – even if only remotely or in new ways – is even more crucial.
This is why we welcome the recommendations published by Bernard van Leer Foundation on How leaders might support babies, toddlers and the people who care for them through the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond and we endorsed ISSA’s and REYN’s Call for Action: Priority Actions for Decision Makers in Europe.