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Concerns grow about young children's development during coronavirus pandemic

Many have been away from preschool for several weeks, with parents worrying that they're falling behind in school and life lessons.
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TOLEDO, Ohio — Four year-old Riley Justiss is like a lot of young kids;she hasn't been to her daycare in weeks.

Her mom Chrysta worries she's falling behind in school-type lessons and missing out on life lessons.

"She's really smart. My biggest concern is mainly her social awkwardness," Chrysta said. "She doesn't know how to react with other children." 

Georgetown University child psychologist Neal Horen says it's understandable that this new way of doing things just isn't the same.

Young kids like Riley may have to learn how to interact with others all over again.

And that includes school learning.

"Don't feel like you have to somehow have your child where they would have been had they been in their preschool," said Dr. Horen.

Dr. Horen says it won't be hard for your kids to re-learn colors and numbers, but learning of social and emotional skills has been put on hold and won't come back so quickly.

Since early childhood is such a crucial time, he wants parents to step up, even if they are busy. 

Dr. Horen says you should spend time with your kids, even if it's just a few minutes an hour.

"If they are sitting in front of a screen, then they are not really gonna learn much about social emotional skills versus if they are at least playing with siblings or other adults who are in the home," Dr. Horen said.

And as restrictions ease, give your kids more chances to interact.

Chrysta Justiss lets Riley spend time with her younger sister and cousins and has some kind of school at home every day.