{ Regression } How to Help & Make Sense of What we are Seeing

HELP… My child has regressed during this Covid time at home!

“ I’m so worried, my kiddo was totally potty trained and is now wetting”

“ I don’t know, my thumb sucker is back, I thought we kicked that habit”

“ Our awesome sleeper is coming into our room every night “

“ My eight-year-old is having MEGA tantrums. It reminds me of when he was three. I thought we were past all of that!”


We hear ya parents – and we feel you! We are all Mom’s ourselves here at Growing Roots and are seeing and feeling lots of this in our own homes too!

What you are seeing is { regression } , which is a very normal (and likely non-permanent) reaction to stress. Think of how we as adults are feeling and reacting during this stressful time. We may be having trouble with our own memory, routine and sleeping. The regression you are seeing in your children is similar to our adult struggles in coping, it just looks more like a developmental slide.

We know as parents this can be worrisome and stressful to deal with.


We recommend above ALL else in this time is that you focus on the relationship rather than the behavior. Safety  and comfort in you as the parent will help support our kiddos through the stress. We also recommend to UP the nurture(think all the warm fuzzy stuff). You may see your child acting more clingy or whiney, this is to be expected too.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Special Play Time

Set aside a time where it is child specific special play time. It could be for a 10-minuet burst before your online calls. Tell the child you are “ All theirs” and it is your special play time just for you and them. Let them know that they are in charge of what you play and follow their lead. Special play time like this fills up the emotional cup of our kiddos and also gives them a sense of control in a world that they really have little control over. Try to resist our adult urge to control the play( we know how hard it is J). Set your special play time on a timer and when its done- end with some warm fuzzy nurture and let them know how good it felt to play with them. Delight in them and let them know you can do is again soon! Try to make space for that one-on-one play time for each child.


  1. Talk & Name what it is going on

Say things like “ I know it’s hard when we can’t have our normal routine” or “ this is tough when I have to ask you to play on your own when I’m on the computer “ or “ This missing friends & family feels pretty lonely + boring sometimes”.  Rather than focus on the regression behaviour that’s presenting – focus on the BIG picture and name it for your kiddos.


  1. Up the nurture , rhythm and movement

Our bodies are all in a state of stress. To calm that in our children rhythmic movement activities that include a safe relationship can help. This could look like scooping our child up and rocking and signing to them, a kitchen dance party with them in our arms or lying quiet and drawing on their back. When you see the regression, behaviour think

“how can I soothe & comfort them” rather than our initial response to stop or curb the immediate behaviour.

Parenting is a tough gig! Parenting in a pandemic is a whole new ball game! Be gentle with yourselves and those kiddos! We are bound to have frustrations, especially with  regressions. Know that they are not permanent, not a conscious choice and with some extra taking care of those needs they should pass in time.


If you are struggling to make sense of your child’s behaviour and are in need of support we are here for you. We are currently accepting new clients for virtual parent consult work. You can reach us @ melissa@growingrootstherapy.ca or by phone @ (204) 801-1254.


Take care!

Sara, Kara & Melissa


P.S. Our kiddos don’t need PERFECT parents – especially not PERFECT WORLD UPSIDE DOWN PANDEMIC PARENTS – you are ENOUGH, and you are SURE GOOD ENOUGH!