Date of Award

Summer 2023

Degree Type



College of Nursing

Director of Thesis

Dr. Robin Dawson

First Reader

Dr. Demetrius A. Abshire


The early years of a child's life are crucial for their development, shaping their ability to process information, communicate, and form their identity. However, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted essential elements necessary for optimal early childhood development, including quality education, nurturing environments, and social stimulation. This study explored how parents in South Carolina perceived the pandemic's impact on their children's development. Five themes emerged from the study. Firstly, remote work due to pandemic protocols significantly affected the parent-child relationship. Secondly, the family's socioeconomic status influenced their ability to cope with and protect their children from the pandemic's impact. Thirdly, isolation resulting from lockdowns led to social delays and increased behavioral issues when restrictions lifted. Fourthly, the sudden transition to online learning was universally seen as a negative experience for children, parents, and teachers. Lastly, parents' beliefs about the virus's risk influenced how their child experienced the pandemic. Healthcare professionals, teachers, and researchers must consider the pandemic's specific impact on each child for diagnosing development issues and implementing action. Nurses can play a vital role in mitigating adverse effects and promoting resilience through holistic care approaches. By including parental perceptions on how COVID affected children’s development by socioeconomic status, this study contributes to ongoing research, which aids in recognizing signs of possible developmental delays.

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© 2023, Jessica A Manes

Available for download on Wednesday, August 13, 2025