Understanding your child’s strange behaviour during lockdown


If your child is acting differently, it’s totally normal. Here’s how to deal with it.

As a country, we have been in lockdown for over 50 days. This means that we have not had any social interactions with our friends and extended family members for almost two months.

It also means that your child has not seen or played with her/his friends in a while. This lockdown has rocked everyone’s world.

A lot of parents have identified that their children have grown very clingy and demanding during the lockdown. Children are also experiencing anxieties during this time. Some have even regressed in their development, whether it be sleep or potty training. They cling onto their parents because they are seeking safety and calmness in this storm.

So, how can parents be calm in the storm?

Stay connected

According to Psychology Today “If your child is acting helpless and clingy, provide lots of love and connection”. This will help them navigate the newness of their lives feeling less scared. Human connection is important for the social and mental development of a child.

Find a routine and stick to it

According to Psychologist Michelle Janse van Rensburg, “consistency and routine create trust, safety and emotional safety for your toddler”. The child is feeling unsafe because there is no longer school and friends, which is what he is used to. So give him something else to get used to.

Acknowledge their regression

If you see that your child is regressing; becoming less independent, more clingy, refusing to sleep alone, or even refusing to use the potty, then it is important to acknowledge these changes. Parents should not punish their children for feeling or acting this way. Stressful situations (like global pandemics) make separation difficult for kids. When you can, give them the attention they need. They will not be this clingy forever.

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