The effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on motor skill development of 6- and 7-year old children in the Netherlands

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The closing of schools and sports clubs during theCOVID-19 lockdown raised questions about thepossible impact on children’s motor skilldevelopment. Therefore we compared motorcompetence development over a one-year periodamong four different cohorts of primary schoolchildren. A total of 992 children from 9 primaryschools participated in this study (age 5 – 7; 47,5%boys) and were assessed two times, in grade 3 (T1)and in grade 4 (T2). Children in control group 1 and lockdown group 1 were assessed a third time aftertwo years (T3). Motor competence was measuredusing the 4-Skills Test. The mixed factorial ANOVAwith post hoc tests shows no significant differencesin motor development over the study period betweenthe lockdown groups and control groups (p > 0.05),but does show a difference between the twolockdown groups from T1 to T2 (p = 0.008). Whilesocioeconomic status (SES) was a modifier, sex andmotor ability did not modify the effects of thelockdowns. Our data show that the COVID-19lockdowns in the Netherlands did not generallyaffect motor development of young children. Incontrast, many studies have confirmed clear effectsof the pandemic lockdowns on physicalactivity1,2,3. Our study highlights the complexity ofboth motor skill development and the factors relatedto the pandemic lockdowns. We therefore suggestthat children’s motor skill development should beclosely monitored in the upcoming years.Specifically, we should pay attention to individualdifferences since it is still possible that certainchildren are impacted by the pandemic lockdowns.Moreover, long-term effects might emerge in thefuture.References1. de Sá, C. dos S. C., Pombo, A., Luz, C.,Rodrigues, L. P., & Cordovil, R. (2021). Covid-19social isolation in brazil: effects on the physicalactivity routine of families with children. RevistaPaulista de Pediatria, 39, e2020159.2. Hurter, L., McNarry, M., Stratton, G., &Mackintosh, K. (2022). Back to school afterlockdown: The effect of COVID-19 restrictions onchildren’s device-based physical activity metrics.Journal of Sport and Health Science, 11(4), 530–536.3. Moore, S. A., Faulkner, G., Rhodes, R. E.,Brussoni, M., Chulak-Bozzer, T., Ferguson, L. J.,Mitra, R., O’Reilly, N., Spence, J. C., Vanderloo, L.M., & Tremblay, M. S. (2020). Impact of theCOVID-19 virus outbreak on movement and playbehaviours of Canadian children and youth: Anational survey. International Journal of BehavioralNutrition and Physical Activity, 17(1), 85.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023
EventAssociation Internationale des Écoles Supérieures d'Éducation Physique: Emerging Horizons: bridging the borders between Physical Education Research and Practice - Santiago de Chile, Chile
Duration: 4 Jul 20237 Jul 2023


ConferenceAssociation Internationale des Écoles Supérieures d'Éducation Physique
Abbreviated titleAIESEP
CitySantiago de Chile


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