Coronavirus pandemic also affects toddlers

Jeshaylah, 3 and 4-year old Jeshylah. Photo by Kendrella Allen Weekley

With the outbreak of the coronavirus putting the world on hold, younger kids who are usually in day care aren’t being properly stimulated. This is forcing parents and guardians to balance working and successfully entertaining children who need constant attention.

Luisa Martin,  director of First Steps Prep Childcare in Tallahassee, was devastated to learn that her day care would have to close. She said she was concerned about the well-being and education of the children.

“I was mostly worried because of the children. Sometimes this is the only place that they have a balanced meal. Additionally, we have little children so we’re developing skills in preschool that need to be ongoing. So, when they’re out for a period of time and they come back it’s like we’re starting from zero,” Martin said.

Despite caregivers being separated from their kids, Martin found a way to continue their education, traditionally and even virtually.

“The first week we were away we made packages for them and we’ve had children on Zoom further developing skills,” Martin said.

Miami-native and grandmother Kendrella Allen Weekley was disappointed to hear that the day care that took care of her two grandkids, 3-year old Jeshaylah and 4-year old Jeshylah, was closing.

“It was a last-minute thing; no one was prepared for it. It’s a good thing that their other grandmother wasn’t working because she’s able to take care of the kids while we work,” she said. “If she wasn’t around, I don’t know where the kids would go.”

Allen and her family take all the necessary steps to keep the children safe as well as themselves.

“They wear masks, they stay in their grandmother’s house and they don’t go around other people. When I go out, I wear a mask and keep my hands sanitized, and I stay away from people,” Allen said.

Keeping the attention of a toddler is a mighty difficult challenge. According to Summit Medical Group, a normal attention span is 3 to 5 minutes per year of a child’s age. Therefore, a 2-year-old should be able to concentrate on a particular task for at least 6 minutes, and a child entering kindergarten should be able to concentrate for at least 15 minutes. Allen says the kids’ day care has made efforts to keep them in the realm of education as much as possible.

“They have packages that were provided by the day care, and they do an hour and a half of schoolwork every day before they’re allowed to go on their laptops,” Allen said.

Orlando claims adjuster Angela Wynn never considered the possibility of day care centers closing for an extended period of time.

“I was taken aback by it because I didn’t realize how serious it was. I thought it was going to be a week or so type of situation while they get everything under control,” she said.

Wynn has also made efforts to keep her 3-year-old twin grandchildren Zyaire and Zanai occupied even though she works from home. “I bought them a trampoline and activity books just to keep them busy. The first week was challenging, but once we got a routine it was pretty good,” Wynn said.