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DD less outgoing since I stopped working

(4 Posts)
plantsitter Mon 18-Jul-11 10:29:25


I have made the decision not to go back to work after having DD2 (7mo).

DD1 (2 + 5 months) coped quite well with the birth of DD2 - obviously there was and still is the usual jealousy but she seems to love her too. However she is much shyer and more clingy when we are out and about than she used to be when she went to the childminder's 3 days a week.

I know she used to go to lots of playgroups and that there were always billions of kids around at the childminder's. As a result she always used to be very at ease in a group of kids and adults. I do try to go to playgroups and do social things but DD1 seems to be getting more and more clingy and less likely to run off and play with other kids. She will eventually, but often by the time she's thawed it's time to go home!

What can I do to help her be more independent and, frankly, happier? I'm starting to wonder if my staying at home is the wrong decision for her.

TIA (and sorry if I don't reply immediately; DD2 has just woken up).

manchestermummy Mon 18-Jul-11 11:15:20

My DD1 was exactly as your describe at that age. It's taken a year, but she's getting more and more confident and outgoing as they days goes by. She's 3.9 now and doing really well.

DD1 used to be in nursery full-time, but when she was 20 mo I reduced my hours at work. I found that far from being super-confident, as you might expect, she was the complete opposite: nursery was as familiar an environment as home, after all. So even though your DD did stuff with the childminder, the children/carers were the same, and therefore familiar to her.

I used to agonise that there was something wrong with her and - I'm sorry to say - get a little annoyed. What I have found really works for my DD1 is letting go at entirely her own pace, and make it clear that it's fine to sit and watch and not join in if that's what she wants to do. I think it also helps her to know that it's okay to be unsure of a new place and/or people. I also lead by example and make small talk with people in parks/shops. Recently, she has been telling me that she didn't know the names of children she might play with in the park. I told her it was okay to ask what they were called. And now she does.

FWIW, part of this could still be insecurity about having a new sibling. My DD2 is 8 months old, and even now I still think DD1 is getting to grips with it all. Do people make a fuss of your baby? Whenever I am asked "How old is she?" I always volunteer DD1's age first, just so she knows that she still counts!

I think what I'm driving at is she will get there with a little encouragement. Whatever you do, though, don't write her of as "shy". She'll know what that means soon and may start to act that way, iyswim.

plantsitter Mon 18-Jul-11 15:01:47

Manchestermumy thank you for that helpful reply. I guess you are absolutely right about the 'shy' thing and to be honest I was cripplingly shy as a kid so I ought to know the best thing to do is let her get on with it. I confess I do get irritated at times.

There's definitely some sibling insecurity there too. I will try your trick of volunteering DD1's age/name first.

It helps to know other kids are the same. Was just feeling like it was my fault for taking her away from all the hubbub of the childminder's, which she loved!

sammie0782 Mon 18-Jul-11 22:08:42

I have similar age gaps to you (8mo and 2.8) and my dd had 3 days/wk nursery before arrival of ds, and still has 2 days now, but she has done just the same, becoming clingy and shyer. I think it is partly their age, and partly the huge upheaval of learning to 'share Mummy'.

Here's hoping they grow out of it!

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