I had a good friend share with me something she had been witnessing with her own children that she had studied as an early childhood education professional. She taught me that there are some normal patterns for childhood regression, and that awareness can be a huge part of getting through that phase with our sanity still in tact.
Her son is about 6 months older than my oldest son, and we would often get together for various homeschooling activities. One day, while the kids were exploring a forest preserve, she lamented to me that her son was having a lot of emotional moments. He would get upset over things that would never have bothered him before. Then she told me that it was part of the “even half year regression” that is often seen in boys. At around 2 ½, 4 ½, 6 ½, 8 ½, etc boys seem to regress in their maturity for a few months. They get upset over things that didn’t bother them before, or pick up more childlike behaviors (like wetting the bed, using baby-talk, etc). The good news is, it typically subsides within a few months and they go back to their normal selves.
This was powerful information to have, and that’s why I’m sharing it with you! Because for us, it helped us keep a level head when they were having an unexplainable meltdown. To be able to share this with my husband and help him (and I) realize that there’s nothing “wrong” with our kids, they are simply doing what kids do – developing non-linearly. We could give a little more grace, lean into the hugs and wipe away the tears, knowing that this was all by design.
I don’t experience raising girls, so I can’t personally speak to the patterns for them, but what I understand is that it may be the odd half-years when girls regress. So 1 ½, 3 ½, 5 ½, 7 ½, etc.
Of course, there are other times when regression happens too – anytime there are major life changes, like a new sibling, a change in schools, moving, a change in family dynamics. With these, we tend to expect it and offer some grace as they adjust. But the reality that there is a normal and continual pattern for kids can be a helpful thing to know.
My words of wisdom if you start to notice the regression: give them grace. Teach family members to offer grace and be a point of security and not pressure for them. Don’t try to force new changes or learning on them during this season (hold off on potty training, changes in sleep habits, learning new skills like how to ride a bike or play a new sport). This will save you and them a ton of frustration and extra tears. When you start to see signs that their emotions and behavior have become more stable, then begin again, knowing you’ll have success with greater ease as they are more ready to grow again.
Come to think of it… I’ll be coming into an odd half year in the next few months, and a couple months later my husband begins his even half year. I wonder if this applies into adulthood too…
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