As the threat of coronavirus disrupts activities for our little ones, parents of younger children might notice a sudden reappearance of sleep disruption, tantrums and toilet accidents.
Your children might become clingier; start to use baby talk or whine more than usual! This is typical regression-like behaviour and can happen when young ones are seeking predictability and control in uncertain circumstances.
As a parent, this can feel hard to deal with! Here a few coping strategies from our new Kindergarten teacher, Emily Williams.
Get physically close and create special time together. Do recognise their need for extra comfort and give cuddles. Story time is a great opportunity here – curl up with a favourite book and enjoy it together. Helping our children stay mentally healthy during this period is really important and physical connection will help.
Be patient (easy for us to say!)
Recognise the signs of regression and give extra support. Your little one may be really capable of washing his or her hands – but the stress of the situation means they might associate hand washing with worry and simply refuse or start messing around! The best thing here is reassurance. Make it fun and take the worry out of it. You are not rewarding bad behaviour; it’s just a way of understanding your child’s way of articulating their stress when they can’t quite find the words.
Structure and routine
Bedtime, mealtimes, school work – sticking to a routine (or creating a new one!) will help minimise the stress for your little one and hopefully lessen the impact of regression. You might find they want to read the same book over and over again. You know your child, if that’s what helps them feel safe and secure, go for it!
Know the signs
Not all regression manifests as tantrums. For some children – especially as they get older – stress can look like lashing out and rudeness. If your child is suddenly acting in this way, they may be signalling that they have some fears. Use empathy to create a space in which they feel more able to show you how they are feeling.
To find out more about our Nursery and Pre-prep, click here.