We often forget that the impact of the pandemic extends beyond physical repercussions, it also leaves a lasting imprint on our mental well-being. As we were abruptly separated from our daily routines and confined to stressful environments, the lack of direct interaction with others took a toll on our emotional health. Human beings are inherently social creatures, and the sudden detachment from society, regardless of age, has left enduring scars.

In the midst of this, the impact on children often goes unnoticed. Their need for social interaction is as crucial as it is for adults, yet their emotional expressions are not as developed. This oversight can lead adults to dismiss their struggles and challenges. There’s a common assumption that providing sufficient entertainment to stimulate children and capture their attention resolves all issues. Yet it overlooks the deeper emotional needs that require acknowledgment and understanding, especially when it comes to children in their early childhood. 1

During this period, the early childhood years play a vital role in shaping the development of self-regulation—this intricate blend of impulse control, emotion management, and social responsibility lays the foundation for a resilient and socially competent individual, something crucial that shapes a child’s future.

The disruptions caused by the pandemic have significantly impacted the developmental trajectory of children. In their early years, children naturally acquire an understanding of emotions and their management through social interactions, primarily within the home environment. However, the role of high-quality Early Childhood Education and Care settings becomes pivotal in supporting the social-emotional development of children.

Early childhood educators play a crucial role in this process by establishing a secure, nurturing, and predictable classroom environment. Emphasising play-based learning, especially important for young children, as it provides valuable opportunities for them to learn cooperation and socially appropriate behaviour. According to UNICEF’s “Early childhood development and Covid-19” report, play serves as the foundation for essential social and emotional skills.2 It enables children to form connections, share, negotiate, resolve conflicts, and develop self-advocacy skills, reinforcing the significance of a holistic approach to early childhood education.

The pandemic abruptly forced young students to return to their home environment, stripping away crucial aspects of their regular routines. This sudden change has had a lasting impact on children that persists to this day.

In a study done by the University of Limerick exploring how the COVID-19 crisis impacted young children emotionally, parents expressed concerns about changes in their kids. For instance, one parent shared that their once outgoing 2-year-old became very attached to them during and after the lockdown, and now has become very wary of others. A parent with a 3-year-old noticed their child becoming quieter and wanting to go to bed more often.

Another parent of a 3-year-old boy observed him being “very spaced out” compared to his pre-lockdown self. Another parent, discussing their 4-year-old, noticed increased sadness and decreased willingness to share. Sharing insights about their 5-year-old, another parent mentioned that although they play more at home without playschool, the child has become emotionally more demanding, displaying behaviours typical of a younger toddler. The parent also highlighted the impact of lockdown on external services, such as speech therapy, leading to regression in the child’s speech.

Similar findings emerged in Indonesia, where a collective study by various universities revealed worsening mental health among children as the pandemic extended to the years after. The majority of Indonesian children experienced direct effects from online learning, disrupting their recreational routines and family finances, leading to stress, anger, fear, and anxiety about the future.

The pandemic has had a big impact on students’ mental health and how they feel about themselves. With online learning and more time spent on social media, students are facing challenges like harmful and excessive social media use. For many kids, doing online classes at home had been tough. Some say they found it hard to understand the lessons and struggle to stay focused. 

For younger children, the closure of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) settings has resulted in a loss of critical developmental opportunities. The formative years, crucial for the acquisition of foundational skills and social-emotional learning, have been disrupted, potentially leading to long-term consequences.

The closure of schools has also created gaps in academic progress, with some students experiencing difficulties in grasping lessons and maintaining focus during remote learning. The absence of hands-on, interactive learning opportunities has limited the effectiveness of education, especially in subjects that thrive on practical application.

Findings of the study suggest that children exposed to a pandemic are likely to endure prolonged emotional stress.3 However, proactive measures, such as robust family parenting support and care, can effectively mitigate these challenges. To address the persistent emotional impact, it is essential to invest in mental health resources, specifically focusing on psychosocial support. This approach aims to equip children with coping mechanisms and the ability to adapt to stress resulting from adverse events in the future.

We write this article bearing in mind that while it is important to acknowledge the often-missed impact of the pandemic, it is equally crucial to offer the solution. There is of course, no instant cure to mend learning and development issues that arise, but there are plenty of child development centres that can help your children to adapt and adjust to their new environment so that they can be at their full potential in their formative years. 

To assist parents in Jakarta seeking such resources, here we have curated a list for the best child development and behavioural centres in city: 

Jakarta Child Development Center 

Jakarta Child Development Center (JCDC) stands as Indonesia’s pioneering child development centre utilising the DIR Floortime approach. Embracing the Developmental, Individual-differences, & Relationship-based philosophy, JCDC is dedicated to providing all children with the chance to learn in a manner that maximises their strengths, abilities, and empowers them to overcome weaknesses. The centre is committed to fostering holistic development through this innovative approach.


Jl. Kedoya Raya No.25, RT.1/RW.4, Kedoya Selatan, Jakarta Barat | 021-23093120 | 087808778770 | jcdcpartner@gmail.com | myjcdc.com

Klinik KANCIL Jakarta

KANCIL, established in 2007, is an institution dedicated to offering diverse psychological services for children, adolescents, and families, aiming to facilitate optimal individual development. With professional expertise in child and adolescent psychology, education, family dynamics, and therapists from various related fields, Kancil ensures comprehensive support. The team, comprising experienced psychologists in developmental, clinical, and educational domains, collaborates to provide developmental intervention services guided by seasoned therapists. As a trusted partner for numerous families, Kancil delivers consultation, education, assessment, and intervention services, prioritising the promotion of optimal individual development and comprehensive mental health care.

Jl. Tebet Barat Dalam III No.2 7, RT.2 RT.7/RW.3, DKI Jakarta | 0812-9051-5456 | kancilku.com

Klinik Pela 9

Founded in 2000 by Dr. Iramaswaty Kamarul, Sp.A(K), a Paediatric specialist with expertise in Child Neurology, the Integrated Clinic for Child and Adolescent Growth and Development Pela 9 (Pela 9 Clinic) strives to aid families dealing with developmental challenges or disorders. The clinic employs an integrated approach, led by a team of paediatric specialists, child psychiatrists, psychologists, and certified therapists, to actively detect delays and developmental disorders in children. This comprehensive initiative emphasises early intervention and follows on both domestic and international certifications.

Jl. Kramat Pela No.9, RT.1/RW.4, Kramat Pela, Kota Jakarta Selatan021 – 7262849 | informasi@klinikpela9.com | klinikpela9.com


  1. Egan et ai., (2021). Missing Early Education and Care During the Pandemic: The Socio‐Emotional Impact of the COVID‐19 Crisis on Young Children. Early Childhood Education Journal, 49:925–934.  ↩︎
  2. UNICEF (2020). Early childhood development and Covid-19. Retrieved from https://data.unicef.org/topic/early-childhood-development/covid-19/ ↩︎
  3. Zamzam et ai., (2023). in Crisis : Early Detection of Young Children’s MentalHealth During the Covid-19 Pandemic in Indonesia. Jurnal Obsesi : Jurnal Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini, Vol.7 (2),1556-1563. ↩︎
Dinda Mulia

Dinda Mulia

Dinda is an avid explorer of art, culture, diplomacy and food. She is also a published poet and writer at NOW!Jakarta.