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V. clingy mindee - any advice?

(43 Posts)
lechatnoir Fri 26-Apr-13 14:10:40

I've had mindee (15mths) regularly for 3 months but periodically from age 8mths and she seems very happy & content in my care eating/sleeping well etc. She's always been very cuddly & won't venture far for my side but now she's properly walking & settled with me I had expected her to start to explore the world around her a bit more but if anything she clings to me more & more.

Toddler groups/playdates are a disaster as she'll scream unless I carry her and this is beginning to get both quite restrictive trying to interact with other mindees/my own DC & tiring as she's very heavy! Any ideas how I can encourage a bit more independence without leaving her to scream all day hmm

5318008 Fri 26-Apr-13 14:17:20

counter-intuitively it's better IME if you can carry her (wrap/sling?), and keep her close, maybe have her on your knee when on the floor playing, or keep an arm around her. IMO it's a primal thing, staying closeby to your caregiver means you are safe smile, along the same lines as being afraid of unfamiliar men (a strange man meant DANGER when we lived in caves)*

This stage won't last long I promise

*please note this is all conjecture and observation, no scientific basis smile

Cathyrina Fri 26-Apr-13 14:20:12

We had this in play groups a lot, I started just sitting somewhere reading a magazine and not play with her/ give her too much attention and she would eventually get bored and just go somewhere else to do something interesting instead of just sitting silently with me for half an hour.... needed some time and was not very nice in the beginning (everyone else must have thought what a terrible carer...) but it worked for us and now she loves exploring and playing with other kids!

I guess it just needs some more time, she won't be like that forever... good luck :D

ReetPetit Fri 26-Apr-13 14:28:19

i have had a couple like this - one i gave notice to as it was constant all day wherever i was an i couldn't take any more.
One I have had a few months. She is much better now. I did much the same as Cathyrina. I just ignored it and eventually she realised that she wasn't getting anywhere and just making herself miserable and everyone else too! She now goes off and plays which is good.

I really would advise against carrying her around/picking her up/constantly and a sling is ridiculous for a chid of this age! If a parent wants to make a rod for their own back that is their issue but the child has to realise that with you there are other children there too and she can not be the centre of attention all the time. It will pass (eventually!) so draining though i know in the mean time!!

5318008 Fri 26-Apr-13 14:31:45

<sits on hands>

Branleuse Fri 26-Apr-13 14:34:50

Maybe shes just not ready to be away from a parent, or would be better with a grandparent who could look after her alone

5318008 Fri 26-Apr-13 14:41:21

another thought is, again IME, babies who like to be carried also like swings, so with the nicer weather how about thinking about trying ditching a group and going to the park/playground?

lechatnoir Fri 26-Apr-13 14:44:45

We go to the park most days but it's much the same - happy being carried screams if I try the swings/seesaw etc. don't get me wrong I'm happy to hold her & know not to try & leave her side but I can't have her literally clinging to me for 10 hours as it's starting to impact on the care I offer others. Do you think it would be worth having a chat to mum & see if she goes to groups or out & about much and whether she leaves her side & if not try & jointly encourage a bit less physical attachment.

5318008 Fri 26-Apr-13 14:47:29

yes do talk to mum about it, good idea

good luck matey smile

doughnut44 Fri 26-Apr-13 15:42:35

I feel for you as I am going through the same. Since september I have had 4 new mindees - all clingy and tthis last obe may just be the straw that broke the camels back. Ten hours of crying is draining. I agree with trying to let them get bored x

ReetPetit Fri 26-Apr-13 16:51:01

i agree, it's horrible, so stressful. I don't think anyone understands until they have had a clingy child 10 hours a day, solid screaming, while trying to care for other children just how draining it is. It's not like having your own clingy child - it's so much worse, a lot of the parents make it 10 times harder still by encouraging clingy behaviour at home, extended breastfeeding, rocking, wearing children in slings - and then to put them with a cm - it often doesn't work!

A 15 month old should be able to understand that you are not going to go away if you move away from them - 3 months is long enough for the child to be getting the hang of your routine. It sounds as though the child is allowed/encouraged to be like this at home with parents and then expecting the same when with you. Just stick with what you are doing and do talk to the mum about it. If you are both doing the same thing it will work quicker.

calmlychaotic Fri 26-Apr-13 17:45:15

I had a very clingy child, she is now much better and happier. I did it gradually. Firstly sticking to routine. Going to the same groups every week.keeping to routines during the day. She wanted to cling to me literally with her arms round my neck! Started with sitting her on my knee but facing away from me with me holding her, then sitting on the floor with her sort of perched on my legs. Then her on the floor with my hand on her back. All very gradual, and it did take a while and if she is tired or a little unwell she'll go back to being very clingy.

stargirl1701 Fri 26-Apr-13 17:50:43

Oh god. My DD is 7 months and very clingy. She starts at the CM at 13 months. She's clingy because she is in pain from silent reflux. She cries a lot too.

Should I rethink a CM?

ReetPetit Fri 26-Apr-13 17:55:44

do you already have one lined up that far in advance stargirl? or are you talking generally?
is she likely to still be clingy and in pain in 6 months time? if so, then it's an issue you will have with any childcare and a cm/nanny is probably your best option - in a nursery environment, they simply can't cater for a child who cries constantly where as some cms have only one child, some will have 3, it depends on individual circumstances.
you need to be honest with your cm, that's the key, then it's her choice whether she wants to take your dd on or not.

lechatnoir Fri 26-Apr-13 17:59:01

Not necessarily stargirl as every child react differently although you might want to find someone who doesn't have too many children at once so she can give her the attention she needs especially during the early weeks. One of my other mindees came to me as a very clingy 8mth old (pfb, never been left with anyone before etc) and now 13mths will crawl around exploring at toddler groups, interacts well with other little ones, doesn't bat an eyelid if I leave the room & is generally very chilled.

stargirl1701 Fri 26-Apr-13 18:00:57

I do have one lined up. I have explained the situation. The paediatrician feels she will be much better by then as she will grow out of it (she is much better already) but there are no guarantees.

I take her to groups (one every day) to get her used to being with other children.

Her gross motor development is delayed with the reflux and she is little. I just hope things improve by then.

stargirl1701 Fri 26-Apr-13 18:03:37

I have left her with other people. All 4 of her grandparents and her godparents. She is fine with the godparents who all have older children - they just entertained/distracted her. She was inconsolable with my Dad (we had to come home but MIL managed really well - my DH was the same.

WouldBeHarrietVane Fri 26-Apr-13 18:05:34

Star girl, I have a very clingy dc and would never use a cm. As you can see from this thread most cm don't use the approach 5318 advocated, which is what I would also do. Partly, that is due to practicalities - with multiple children to care for it is hard for them to truly tailor their care to individual children where there are issues like this. Eg hard to do the school run with more than one velcro baby/toddler!

My dc was very clingy in groups but is fine now because I've given a stable caring base to explore from. Now happy to run around by themselves smile

I would never leave a scared/overwhelmed child to cry by themselves at a group.

Can you afford a nanny?

stargirl1701 Fri 26-Apr-13 18:36:49

I didn't even think about a nanny as an option. I assumed I would use a CM as I don't believe in nurseries for the under 3s. It'll be 2 days a week.

I need to talk to DH.

ReetPetit Fri 26-Apr-13 18:45:15

the best thing to do is visit a few cms stargirl.

Don't assume that because you are paying more, you will be getting a superior service from a nanny. A lot of cms are very experienced and most have children of their own. Bear in mind that if you use a nanny share, your dd will still be sharing the nanny with other children.

I'm sure she will be fine, most children are, and although i understand she has special medical needs, most children behave different for carers than they do for parents. She might be 100% fine and remember a lot can change in 6 months!

stargirl1701 Fri 26-Apr-13 18:55:17

I've got one organised. 27 years experience. She is very highly spoken of by parents of children in the school where I work. She has 3 children my DD knows as DH & I know their parents. I have explained about the silent reflux. It is soooo much better than it was. It is likely she'll have grown out of it by then.

It's a whole new world being a parent! grin

ReetPetit Fri 26-Apr-13 18:57:59

it sounds like you have a good cm there, try not to worry smile
i would rather a well thought of, recommended childminder with 27 yrs experience than a young, inexperienced nanny any day of the week!!

Good Luck with it - I'm sure cm knows what she's doing and if she's not worried by it, you shouldn't be either.

FromGirders Fri 26-Apr-13 19:04:21

I am a CM, been one for about 7 years now.
I have a sling, and I'm not afraid to use it.
In the situation you describe, I'd either be sitting with your child at groups, or wearing her at home, at least for some of the time. IME, if you sit and cuddle the child at toddler groups or wherever, then after a while she'll get confident enough to explore on her own. What does it hurt you to let her sit on your knee while you're at a group? You're there already, so it's not like you're trying to do anything else.
I'd not recommend any CM I saw sitting reading a magazine at a group and ignoring a crying child.

5318008 Fri 26-Apr-13 19:11:54

<sits on fromgirder's hands>

ReetPetit Fri 26-Apr-13 19:14:07

you would seriously carry a 15 month old child in a sling FromGirders? Even when the child has been in your care since 8 mths old so has no reason to be so clingy.
I would do my back in if I was carrying a 15 mth old about - i just wouldn't do it. Thats crazy!!

awkwardsis Fri 26-Apr-13 19:21:11

The right sling is a godsend. I, not a cm but I'm a single mum to 3 so am more than used to dealing with clingy ds and the other 2. I pop him on my back in the ergo if I really have to get on. It makes me feel quite sad that a cm would consider ignoring a distressed child to be good practice.

5318008 Fri 26-Apr-13 19:26:26

Yes I would carry or wear a child of that age, and have done.

I can't understand why one wouldn't want to make an anxious child feel loved and safe.

Ofc I haven't said here that my usp is very low numbers, AP style childminding, responsive partic to non verbal children, intuiting from body language, gesture and vocalisations what they need want.

I find the idea of a wee child being ignored because they are signalling they need attention ever so upsetting.

FromGirders Fri 26-Apr-13 19:32:33

Yes, I would, and I do, if my 14mo is having a sad day, which she sometimes does if she's teething.
If you have a good sling / carrier, it shouldn't hurt your back at all. Especially if you've been carrying her on and off since she was little, your strength improves as she grows.
I don't leave children to cry.

FromGirders Fri 26-Apr-13 19:33:30

<gives hands back to 53>

HDEE Fri 26-Apr-13 19:43:33

Shocking behaviour to read a magazine and pretend to ignore the child. I can't believe childminders would behave like that and would be gutted if it was happening to my child.

What kind of message does it send to the child? Constant touch and cuddles when needed are vital for development and feeling secure. 15 months is still a baby! My children weren't even walking at that age.

WouldBeHarrietVane Fri 26-Apr-13 20:29:41

Glad to read others feel as I do. I would love to see what Ofsted would make of ignoring a crying child at a group.

ReetPetit Fri 26-Apr-13 20:34:12

i don't think anyone on here has said they ignored a crying child at a group hmm
there is a difference between not giving a child attention who is being overly clingy and a bit moany/miserable and actively ignoring a crying child. i don't think anyone has suggested they do/would do that...

Fightlikeagirl Fri 26-Apr-13 22:07:01

I'm with from and 53. As a cm, I strongly believe in giving clingy children the love and attention they need, ime this makes them feel secure and then confident enough to eventually explore by themselves, secure in the knowledge that you're there if they need you.

HSMMaCM Fri 26-Apr-13 22:15:55

I have been minding for 13 yrs. Every child really is different . I have clingy child at the moment. If we go to groups he comes with me, holding my hand ... not a problem . He will soon be confident enough to explore on his own, but in the meantime he feels safe as we check on the other children, look at different activities, etc

In my early minding days I thought children like this should learn to be left, but now I know that once they are confident, they will find their own independence.

calmlychaotic Sat 27-Apr-13 09:06:54

I don't use slings but that's only because I have back problems, even good ones are no good for me its the extra weight. I would never leave a child to cry, I would sit down and hold them and give them as much attention as they need to feel secure. I would happily take on a clingy child. All childminders have different styles just like all parents do, you just need to find one who suits your style of parenting and your child.

lechatnoir Sat 27-Apr-13 13:00:29

Thanks everyone some really helpful advice. I do actively encourage sitting on my knee, holding hands, staying close etc but mindee literally clings to me which is lovely some of the time but what I'm trying to get away from all day. she's very big for her age so there's no way I'd want to put her in a sling - too many years carrying my own DC put paid to that!!
Thanks again & will update if I make any progress.

I'm seriously hmm at the poster who suggested that extended bf, co sleepingetc made babies clingy hmm


I have had two silent reflux babies and got a nanny because she could give attention as I would.

The mindee could be teething, overtired, unsettled... Any number of reasons. What does mum say?

amazingface Sat 27-Apr-13 20:46:49

stargirl71, don't worry too much about this right now because your dd still has got a lot of changing to do before she gets to 13 months!

I had an insanely clingy baby who started going to a CM at 5 months. I know many babies still like to be held a lot at that age but my DD only napped on her parents or in a pram/sling, and she was very fussy and unsettled with others, so I was really worried about her starting with a CM and how it would all go.

Anyway, we lucked out with the CM. DD was her only other mindee at the time apart from her own baby, so she had plenty of time to carry her about on her hip etc. And from Day 1, the CM tried her for a nap in a Moses basket and DD went out like a light. I am still shock thinking about it! Anyway, the clinginess and fussiness reduced dramatically from then on, it was really noticeable and she was a lot happier in herself. Now she's 15months and it's returning smile It's just an age and personality thing, I guess.

So I just wanted to say that a really good CM is worth her weight in gold. I would agree with the pp who said the best way to tackle it seems to be lots of structure and routine (littlies that age get really excited about anticipating parts of their day) and just a gradual caring approach. But there's no way I would have asked or expected the CM to carry her in a sling. That's a parent's job IMO. (And I breastfed for 14 months - not sure if that counts as extended wink)

I bet she'll be fine and hopefully her pain will have eased quite a bit by then.

lechatnoir Sat 27-Apr-13 23:23:35

Creature there's nothing physically wrong with her she's a very bright, happy & chatty little girl until I try & put her down between my legs on the floor or next to me on the sofa then she screams VERY loudly (but miraculously stops the minute she's picked up wink). I've looked after her when she's been poorly & she just snuggled into me all day v.subdued - I didn't mind at all as there was obviously something wrong & she needed that level of comfort until her mum could get there.

I do try the sitting & just allowing her time to settle in her surrounding & letting her gradually move away when she's ready but most weeks we attend a certain playgroup & can be there 2 hours during which time she's hasn't so much record her arms from round me let alone ventured off my lap!! I have to get one of my friends to hold her if I need the loo as I cant put her down as her screaming is so loud & persistent it terrifies all the other little ones grin. Bizarrely she doesn't mind being held by anyone else if I'm not around!

What does her mum say OP?

lechatnoir Sun 28-Apr-13 09:56:36

I've not raised it as an issue before but during conversation have gathered that mum does indeed carry her everywhere & doesn't really socialise outside the immediate family so no groups etc.

I do intend to speak to her next week but still unsure (a) how to broach it without sounding like I'm attacking her parenting or her child or (b) what I want to get out of the conversation. There's no point telling mum her DC is clingy when I'm pretty sure she's aware & likewise I'm not expecting (or wanting) to tell me to suddenly stop & let her cry, but, I do feel some steps need to be taken to try and at least start making some progress especially as I have a 7mth old starting on 2 of her days in a few months so will definitely need free arms by then shock

WouldBeHarrietVane Sun 28-Apr-13 10:33:37

Lechat as a mum of a very similar dc it may be that the dm had not taken her dd to groups because of the clinginess. I have taken mine regardless, but my bf avoided groups in a similar situation.

The way to encourage her to work with you to resolve the clinginess may be to boost her confidence to go to groups. Eg suggest she starts one which is known locally to be friendly - maybe a music one as at ours the kids usually sit on your knee for that.

WouldBeHarrietVane Sun 28-Apr-13 10:35:21

It can be very isolating having a very clingy child. If she's felt unable to go to groups then it may be she hadn't made many friends. This was really difficult for my bf sad

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