Like most of people, children also want familiarity when they feel stress — which generally translates into babyhood. Baby-like behaviour is a common reaction to big changes like a new brother or sister. And typically in cases of new siblings, it’s hard not to join the dots between the baby’s behaviour and all the attention he/she is now getting — attention that used to go to the older one. Regression is just the baby’s way of dealing with change.
What kind of age regression is normal?
Most of the age regression issues depend upon the age of the older sibling when the new baby is brought home. Children under the age of three or four tend to have the greatest difficulty. Because they lack the developmental awareness or experience to make sense of the new addition to the family and title of big brother/sister, as these titles tend to have little meaning to them. Thus, they are more surprised and distressed by the experience.
In addition, toddlers and pre-schoolers are most vulnerable to regression. As they are in the midst of a number of developmental changes or have only very recently completed numerous developmental tasks.
Areas of Regression
The primary areas in which Older sibling regression may occur are the following:
- Sleep – Children may, unconsciously, wish to join their parents in the middle of the night to get that much desired attention and comfort that they used to get before and had to split since the new baby arrive.
- Potty issues – Young children may become distracted by the new born and forget to make it to the potty.
- Feeding – Mothers who breastfeed may find their older one trying to crawl into their lap, or hang from their arms or shoulders, nudge the new born while nursing, or ask to nurse themselves.
Before the baby is born
- During pregnancy, there will be things a mom can no longer do for her toddler, don’t use the baby as an excuse, rather use any other issues like backache etc.
- Don’t create false expectations, rather talk about what he was like as an infant, or take him to visit friends who have siblings.
- Give one’s child a sense of investment in the baby.
After the baby is born
- Give one’s older kid a role in the festivities. Have him to greet visitors, and ask him to introduce them to the new member.
- Be available to firstborn.
- Foster hero worship.
- Pre-empt power struggles. Like invite the big kid to snuggle up for a story while mom is nursing.
- Help one’s child see the benefits of being older.
- Hug, kiss, and repeat often, are like to keep reassuring the older child of his place in the family.
- Remind him that love is stretchy, thus there’s enough for everybody
- One’s older child will have to learn to wait sometimes while mom tend to her new-born. But to soothe the sting, show him that sometimes the new one has to wait too.
Like this ways or more, older child regression when baby comes may be possible to control.