Nov. 23, 2021

Why Kids Regress Sometimes (And What To Do About It)

Why Kids Regress Sometimes (And What To Do About It)

Why do young children regress? How can we support them while they’re going through it? How can we support ourselves when we thought they were done with the pacifier and now it’s back with a vengeance? When do we push back, and when do we ignore?

Regression is what happens when a child revisits an earlier stage of his or her development– and behaves accordingly. Paradoxically, regression can happen right after a child makes a developmental leap or meets a new milestone. Dr. Tovah Klein, director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development, suggests that regression is a manifestation of the constant push-and-pull little kids feel between the need for dependence and the desire for independence.

But how are parents supposed to react? Are we supposed to let them start dragging their blankie to pre-K? Is pushback totally required or a terrible idea?

In this episode, we discuss what works to discourage the regressive behavior, how to know when to just allow or ignore it, and how to do with our own stress that yes, actually our child will be the first person in history to walk down the aisle at college graduation still using a pacifier. 

Here are links to some writing on the topic that we discuss in this episode: 

Caroline Vollans for Nursery World: An Essential Guide To Regression

Melinda Wenner Moyer for the New York Times: Wait, I Thought You Had Outgrown This

Unity Point: Regressive Behavior: Signs of Child Regression & What to Do

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