Separation anxiety 5 yr old

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Registered: 03-20-2007
Separation anxiety 5 yr old
7
Wed, 01-21-2009 - 8:14pm
My daughter who turned 5 at the end of August has some problems with leaving me. The first 3 yrs of her life I only worked a few days a week and at the most those days I was only gone about 4 hrs at a time and since she was 3 I have been at home with her. During the days I did work she stayed with my mom only. At 2 i enrolled her in a mommy and me and gymnastics class which she loved until she turned 3 when she was able to go into the big girl class without mommy. She screamed and cried and they said they didnt want her to hate class so they said maybe it wasnt for her. I then enrolled her in a number of classes at the local rec center that was 1 day a week for 30-45 mins... of course when leaving me she cried and the teacher said she cried for about 5-7 mins and sometimes she would cry if they went on a potty break and she happened to see me in the hall or something. At 4 I enrolled her in preschool and they required a parent to walk her into school each day...she cried everyday until mid to late april. I enrolled her in soccer camp over the summer and she cried and wanted me to run along with her and she stayed close to the side the whole time. This year she is in kindergarten and the first week she cried and the teacher said I shouldnt walk her in anymore. She hadnt cried until recently due to winter break being off so long she doesnt want to be back in school. I recently put her in karate along with her cousin and once again she is crying for me. She says she likes doing things but only if i would do them with her. She has a friend or 2 at school and she is around her cousin who is 4 a lot and i also baby-sit a 3 yr old so she is always around her and during the warm months she plays very well with the kids in mine and my parents neighborhood. She is so clingy that most of the time she will even sit on my lap at home and I will have to tell her to go sit by herself. Any suggestions? I just want her to not only be self confident but also keep active and be healthy. and there hasnt been any type of big changes in her life. No big moves...her last move was when she was 1 her father is active in her life...works long days but is always home each night...she stays with my parents a lot they say sometimes at night she will ask for me but usually is ok.


Edited 1/21/2009 8:28 pm ET by lacieh2001
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Mon, 01-26-2009 - 10:03am
I'm so sorry you are dealing with this. I don't have any advice as my DD is only 10 months, but hopefully someone with some ideas will jump in soon!
Poppies Sig
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Registered: 03-19-2003
Tue, 01-27-2009 - 12:32am

Hi lacieh2001 and welcome to the board.

My son was a little bit like that until he started preschool. In fact I signed him up late for preschool because I was concerned about him refusing to do anything and crying all the time. When he started we talked about what he could expect and when I would be back. That helped calm his fears down a lot. I would ask him questions about what he did that day and if he could show me how this or that worked. Could he teach me one of the songs they sang at closing circle. Could he retell one of the stories they were told. We made friends with the other kids in his class, so we'd ask him how A or K was doing. What did he think C was going to bring for sharing this week and what did W bring for snack. etc.

How do you act when you drop her off at karate or any of the other classes you've signed her up for. Are you just waiting for her to start crying and dreading it? Are you tense knowing it is going to happen? For a while I was always waiting for Lindsay to get mad about something and throw a fit. I realized I was always tense and wasn't enjoying our trips to the park with friends because I was always waiting for her to lose her temper and start screaming. It didn't always happen, but it happened enough that I felt it was constant until I learned to relax. I learned I couldn't stay and watch her take a class. I would sit in the car if I didn't have an errand to run during her gymnastics class. I learned not to jump and try and fix the problem or comfort her when she got upset. If she was scared to try something I had to (still have to) be calm and matter of fact about it. It also helped to let her know about things I wasn't able to do or things that frustrated me. I had to start laughing about my mistakes rather than taking them serious. I have to overact when I lose a game in the sense I have to make it seem like I may be sad that I haven't won but I enjoyed the game and want to play again -- she has issues about losing.

When she isn't upset about you leaving has she ever been able to talk to you about why she gets so upset? Is she afraid that you are going to forget to come back and get her? Is she afraid you will have fun without her? Is she nervous about what is expected of her at school or in the class? Do you think it would help her if she had a few playdates with different kids in her class? Maybe find a few kids that she could look forward to seeing at school?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2007
Wed, 01-28-2009 - 8:02am

Thanks for your reply..as far as gymnastics we took the class together and she loved it. But the first class without me she cried and would hold onto me and they said that they didn't want her to hate it and that they thought she shouldn't do it. I enrolled her in some craft classes at our rec center and when leaving I would walk in and she would cry but the teacher would allow kids to walk out so I would hug her and tell her im waiting on her and to have fun and i would wait in the hall. Preschool I tried my best to get her excited...we went to a "salon" for kids and got her hair cut they fixed it all up with glitter and she got her nails painted and was ready for school. My mom took her shopping as did I..letting her pick out stuff so she may get excited. But she cried everyday...she had friends in there but it didn't matter she would cry. Kindergarten is much better cuz i drop her off...she has been crying in the morning before school but when i drop her off she goes in without crying which is wonderful. Karate she started to cry as we walked into the building before her first class because she knew about it...i told her about karate and that i would be just a few feet away from her and she would have so much fun and her cousin would be out there with her...it still didn't matter. and of course they said they feel she shouldn't be in karate because they don't want to upset her.

I have asked her many times why she gets so upset and she says she just wants me. She is pretty laid back and doesn't get mad about much. I honestly feel its all because she wants to be with me. And the only time she doesn't cry without me is when she is with my mom but she has been the only one to watch her...My daughter even cries with her own dad!! Granted that is SLOWLY getting better. My mom does say before going to bed at night she will ask for me.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-07-2007
Wed, 01-28-2009 - 1:24pm

It sounds like you're doing a lot of things right.

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Wed, 01-28-2009 - 3:03pm

I've been struggling a bit with my 5yo ds.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Wed, 01-28-2009 - 3:39pm
My daughter had it when she was much younger, but we were able to get rid of it.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2007
Fri, 01-30-2009 - 1:19pm
Thanks everyone for your input!