Q. I have a 2-1/2-year-old son and a brand-new baby girl. Ever since we brought her home, my son, who had been speaking in full sentences, has reverted to baby talk. I'm really worried. What can I do?
Be reassured to know that most children find having a new baby in the family stressful and need some time to adjust. They may express their feelings in many different ways -- acting out aggressively, withdrawing, clinging, or rejecting Mom or Dad. It's also not unusual for kids to regress in behaviors they've already mastered, such as potty training, or, as you describe, by reverting to baby talk.
Like many firstborns, your son may be jealous of the care and attention his sister receives. His acting like a baby again is a way to get the same kind of attention as his new sibling. But there's plenty you can do to let your son know that he is still loved and doesn't need to act like a baby to be noticed.
Claire Lerner, LCSW, is a child development specialist at Zero to Three, a national nonprofit promoting the healthy development of babies and toddlers (zerotothree.org).
Originally published in American Baby magazine, September 2004.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.