Lockdown behaviours in children

Hi Purely Baby/ Thinkwise Parents – are any of you dealing with an increase in these behaviours in your little ones over lockdown??

  • More clingy and attention seeking
  • More irritable, angry and frustrated
  • Increased meltdowns even over minor events
  • Reverting to ‘younger’ behaviours – wanting to co-sleep, bed-wetting, ‘baby-talk’
  • Showing more worry about lots of different things
  • Asking lots of questions
  • More withdrawn, zoning out
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Provoking reactions from those around them
  • Need things to be in their place – inflexible

Don’t worry – it’s very likely that lockdown pressures and anxiety is at the bottom of it and there is an answer to help you cope – the three R’s.  Regulate, Relate and Reason (Dr. Bruce Perry)  Let’s look at each one:

Regulate –No matter what the behaviour remember anxiety about all the changes is probably at the bottom of it so a simple hug and gentle rocking or speaking in a calm, rhythmic voice calms the anxiety centres of the brain.  Next…

Relate – no matter how ‘out there’ the feeling, relate to it, let the child know that you hear them and understand.  The reason for the upset may well be illogical and even ridiculous – don’t think that you are encouraging ‘silliness’ or ‘bad behaviour’ remember fear about all the changes in their little lives is probably the actual reason. Next…

Reason – now that your little one is calm and connected, they can engage in learning a different response to a situation that works better for you and your household.

Last but not least – how many of the points on the list apply to you??? I score 5, although my husband might argue its more!!  We’re all struggling so, like the great paediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott said, you only have to be “good enough” – just do your best and if you can regulate, relate and reason some of the time, you’re doing great!