CASTLE POINT, Mo. — Lucretia Wilks, who runs a small day care out of her home in north St. Louis County, is used to watching young children embrace, hold hands and play together in close quarters.
But the covid-19 pandemic made such normal toddler behavior potentially unsafe.
“It’s weird that they now live in a time where they’re expected to not hug and touch,” said Wilks, founder of Their Future’s Bright Child Development Center, which cares for about a dozen children ranging from infants to 7 years old. “They’re making bonds, friendships, and that’s how they show affection.”
Day care and other child care providers said they are relieved to see covid cases drop as vaccines roll out across the United States. But even as the nation reopens, mental health and child development experts wonder about what, if any, long-term mental health and development consequences young children may face.