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How to help clingy 5 year old

(8 Posts)
MouseThatRoars Sat 20-Apr-13 22:19:06

My DD (5) is the youngest in her class (Yr 1) and very shy. She won't go into class without first holding her teacher's hand at the door. Teacher is great and just takes dd's hand while still getting on with other stuff. However, I really want dd to break the habit before the end of the year.

How can I help her break the pattern of clingyness in the mornings? Should I ignore the issue altogether and hope she gets better on her own or should I set up a reward system if she goes in to school without making any fuss (she does very occasionally)? Help please!

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 20-Apr-13 22:33:55

Ah I so relate to this as my oldest DD (now 8) was just the same. She was also the youngest.

To be honest, if the teacher is happy, then why change things...but...having said that, I see you're probably thinking about the change into year 1 and hoping DD isn't too stressed by it.

how is she doing socially? Have you asked any little friends over for tea? If she has any little friends or if there are any nice, but more confident children you could ask one of them to hold DDs hand....are there any Mothers in the playground who you'd be comfy to ask about that?

I had this with my younger DD...a little boy in her class...also reception was v anxious and his Mum just said "Look...go in with LittleNeo...LittleNeo will you hold Xs hand and help him go in?"

ANd she did...about the reward thing....yes...ask the teacher if she can give DD a pebble for the jar if they have one of those...if she goes in alone.

Also....have you been into her classroom to help out or anything? It helps them settle too.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 20-Apr-13 22:34:27

Oh meant to add...my oldest DD is just fine now! She's more confident and has friends whereas she struggled a lot when she was younger both academically and socially.

LittleMissLucy Sat 20-Apr-13 22:36:05

My DS was a bit like this and I found that reassuring him was the only way. If I tried to ignore it or move him along a bit, it actually increased his anxiety (and I felt terrible). She will become more independent in her own time, reassurance is definitely the way.

tumbletumble Sun 21-Apr-13 08:59:57

My DD must be a few weeks younger than yours OP - she's one of the oldest in reception. She still takes her cuddly toy into school every day, and when I drop her off she gives him a cuddle before putting him in her book bag.

I think if it just a settling thing at the start of the day, and she is okay once she has got over the first 10 minutes, then you should do nothing and let her just grow out of it. The problem with a reward system IMO is that you are rewarding her for not showing her feelings and not asking for reassurance when she needs it - I think that is sad for a five year old.

MouseThatRoars Sun 21-Apr-13 20:58:13

Thanks all for your thoughtful replies. Neo: Glad your DD is fine now. Mine not doing so well academically (we are not surprised given her age and we don't pressure her in any way). Socially she has two really good friends in her class and seems to be relaxed with them and have a real giggle. However, she is extremely shy in the class as a whole, especially around unknown adults and more boisterous children. School (unbeknown to us) asked a psychologist to assess her and said results were 'inconclusive'. Quite confusing for us. We await contact with SENCo.

Overall I don't get the impression she is unhappy at school, just extremely shy. When I went in to see her on parents' morning she was really quiet and clingy and wouldn't even speak to me or her lovely teacher. She won a prize at the end of last term and had to sit on the stage next to the Head Teacher. She cried and I could tell the experience of being in the spotlight was excruciating for her. It was heartbreaking for us watching her and we just wanted to go and scoop her up and give her a big cuddle.

I worry about rewards as, like you, MissLucy and Tumble, I don't want her to feel that she has 'failed' if she can't go into class without support. My instinct is to just go with it and let her develop at her own pace but I worry that she may not have such an understanding teacher next year and this could increase her anxiety, especially as everyone seems to expect small children to be so 'independent'.

LittleMissLucy Sun 21-Apr-13 23:11:42

I think you're doing the right thing. My DS wept buckets when first expected to go on a stage with the other children, aged 5. Now age 6 he is right at the front hamming it up and doing flouncy bows at the end. Some kids just take a little longer to get used to being in a different environment and the shyness is caution, which is a kind of intelligence too - they are making sure that everything is ok before they open up.

MouseThatRoars Mon 22-Apr-13 11:48:24

Wise words, MissLucy. Funny to think of your once-shy ds hamming it up! Thank you.

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