By Jessica Easthope
Ten month old Emma Josephine just started crawling. She’s even mastered repeating sounds, and it’s something her mom Camille Sajecki is especially excited about.
“She’s talking and babbling more than ever, every day and it’s amazing to watch her grow and do different things every day,” Camille said.
Though Emma’s home comes complete with her favorite toys and the love of her parents, she hasn’t had as much stimulation as she would have before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“She was seeing family on a regular basis, her cousins every Friday, and now she’s seeing those people through a small screen on a phone,” said Camille, who started to worry about the effects on Emma’s development.
“If this wasn’t going on we’d do ‘Mommy and Me ‘classes, seeing other families who have small babies, but it’s difficult to do any of those things because we’re scared,“ Camille added.
Doctor Robert Tiballi, an infectious disease expert with the Catholic Medical Association, says Camille’s concerns are valid.
“Any delay they may have in their development in their psycho-motor, interactions or their physical abilities, they will be able to pick up on that later,” said Dr. Tiballi.
But it’s not physical development Dr. Tiballi is worried about. He says babies and children can pick up on the stress and fears of their parents.
“Children could be overwhelmed by anxiety and fear parents have, and they can take that on as an attribute of their personality,” said Dr. Tiballi.
Camille says Emma’s becoming more aware by the day, so at home she and her husband Sean keep it positive, no matter how stressed they might feel.
“We definitely try to keep things as positive as they were before this started, because we know that she feeds off us and she feels what we feel,” Camille said.
Dr. Tiballi says until things are back to normal, his advice for parents is to put themselves in the mindset of a baby like Emma just learning to crawl: be careful, but have no fear.