Rhonda and I have had some trouble with Nick. We thought the days of arguments, screaming fits, and “potty accidents” were a thing of the past.
But since Harper’s come home, they’re all back.
Anyone who has read about “toddler regression” will recognize the classic signs of a toddler who is insecure with his place in the family. Nick may be having issues with the idea that he is no longer the focus of our attention and is trying to emulate the behaviors of the person who gets the most attention – his baby brother. Which makes a lot of sense, though I doubt it’s so calculated.
While this is frustrating for Rhonda and me, it sounds like a common occurrence and, at this point, nothing to worry about. Here’s how some experts recommend dealing with Nick’s issues:
- Accept it, to a point. Refrain from criticizing the “babyish” behavior – the point isn’t to shame the kid and you risk him deciding that bad attention is better than no attention. Instead, try to let the regression slide but make sure to praise the “adult” behavior. With time, he’ll remember that being a big boy is the best approach.
- Avoid comparisons to the baby, negative or positive. You don’t want to spark sibling rivalry early and the child needs to feel secure that some things are all about him. Regardless of the baby, he is a big boy and his parents love him.
- Make sure to set aside time for the older sibling. Play Legos, read a bedtime story, whatever. Just set aside at least 15 minutes a day that are all about your toddler.
- Recruit your toddler to help with feedings or diaper changes. Let him be Mom and Dad’s little helper. If he resists, though, don’t push – this could just cause further resentment. Encourage, but don’t force.
- Watch the gift thing. If all your visitors come by with toys for the new baby and none for the older sibling, that can be disheartening. Ask visitors to bring a token gift for your toddler, too. It doesn’t have to be big, it’s the thought that counts. Besides, Nick gets ecstatic over toys from the quarter machines at the grocery store.
- Finally, take a step back in the training process. Remind your toddler about bathroom breaks, insist when he resists, and so forth. You’ve done this before, you know what you’re doing.
Ideas on how long regression lasts seem to vary between a few weeks to a few months. You know your toddler better than anyone. If the recommended steps don’t seem to be working, talk to your child’s doctor.
Above all, love your kids. They need it.