I have been having quite a difficult time with my 4.5 yr old DS (he'll be 5 in early October, and will start Kindergarten in the fall). A little background on him:
He's a really bright, sensitive kid who LOVES being read to/learning to read, doing art projects, and is great at independent, highly imaginative play. Compared to other kids his age that I've seen, he's usually pretty cooperative and reasonable (his toddler years were relatively painless). He has a younger brother who turned 2 in May and they're really close and have a lot of fun together. When DS2 was born there wasn't the big rough transition that I was expecting, but then again we had done a lot of preparation with him before the birth and he seemed to do really well with having a new baby in the family.
Last year was his first year of preschool (pre-K) and he did wonderfully! His teachers were pleased with him and there was no difficult adjustment period. He always seemed happy to go to school in the morning and made some good friends while he was there.
OK, so now here's what's happening:
Ever since school ended for the summer, he's been home with me (I'm a SAHM) and his younger brother. He has been much more difficult than normal and is exhibiting regressive behavior, mostly emotionally. For instance, he needs TONS of attention, constantly saying "Mommy, watch this!" or "Mommy, look at what I'm doing" the entire time he's playing. He's become a lot more whiny and pouts in a very exaggerated way when he doesn't get what he wants (complete with lots of "it's not FAIR!") And the most distressing is a big increase in fear issues; he's basically afraid to be in a room by himself and wants me to come with him to the bathroom or be in the room with him while he's getting dressed. And most difficult of all is bedtime, when he insists that he cannot get to sleep unless I'm in the room with him (this is a kid who has been falling asleep independently since he was 1). If I don't stay in the room with him, he cries and calls out for me and begs me to stay. Other fears are ones that he had when he was younger, but they're coming back, such as walking down a flight of stairs or going down the ladders on the jungle gym.
I feel conflicted about how to handle this. On the one hand, I want to be supportive, loving and there for him as he goes through what is obviously a challenging phase (at least I hope it's a phase!) for him. But it is also extremely draining, and I've got my 2 yr old to look after as well, and sometimes I fear that if I cater to him too much it will just allow it to continue and become more ingrained.
So what I'm wondering is, is this normal stuff for summer, when many kids have a change in their daily routine? I asked him once if he missed school, and he simply said "no". I've been coming up with lots of fun stuff for us to do during the day, such as going to museums, the zoo, having picnics, doing playdates with kids he really likes, etc. I'm just wondering if there's something I'm missing or not doing that could help ease things a bit.
Sorry if this is long; it felt good just to get it all out!