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Finding it quite difficult to actually go out with my toddler at the moment, she seems to hate other people so much :( can anyone help?

(13 Posts)
Emeraldgirl2 Thu 06-Nov-14 10:56:13

I was going to add a post to the separation anxiety thread below but thought it unfait to hijack another poster!

My DD is 20m and we have always struggled with separation anxiety, it comes and goes but at times it is very bad. Good thing is she now goes very very happily to Dh and to my mum so we are getting somewhere.

But a new phase for us is her absolute intolerance of other people in her orbit, particularly other toddlers. It is making life quite tricky and limiting what we can do as she gets so terribly upset. Best case scenario is that she just shrieks at other people (passing people walking to work on the same pavement etc, so not even people trying to interact with her or in her eyes take her away) and says no no no and waves her hands at them. Worst case scenario, we had to leave a messy play class just this morning a minute after it started because she was suddenly inconsolable, she wanted her cuddly bunny and we had come out without him and it just got so bad we had to leave sad which was a shame as she would have enjoyed the messy play if we had been able to stay, she usually does.

MIL came round yday as I needed to get some things done and I couldn't do any of them because DD wouldn't stay alone with MIL...

We abandoned playgroup before we even went on tues because she was so upset before we even went out of the door. Last time we went we had to leave as she was fine until another child came and looked at a toy she was playing with and then she got desperately upset and kept saying 'home, home'.

Even shopping outings can be cut short as she gets so upset sometimes in pushchair out and about and begs to go home for her bunny.

I think part of the issue is the bunny: he is her soft bunny with dummies attached and she loves him more than anything, however I am trying to be firm about not taking him out when we go as she tends to doze off with a dummy when she is in pushchair or car (won't doze off without dummy) and though I am not remotely strict about most aspects of parenting I HAVE to be strict about her only napping at naptime because otherwise what happens, without fail, is that she will doze off for twenty mins in her pushchair and then be absolutely unable to settle for a proper nap later on, leading to hysterics about two hours later as she is so tired but by then it's too late to have a proper nap or bedtime is a disaster... so by keeping the bunny away I am obviously being cruel to be kind as otherwise her sleep suffers horribly and she is a wreck.

But the trouble is that I think she only feels secure around other people when she has him and so if we go out without him she is in a panic... and hence we are finding ourselves unable to go out!!

That said she was in a state with MIL y'day and she DID have bunny, so it's not foolproof...

Sorry for long post but does anyone have any advice? She is a very sensitive, high-needs little thing, suffers terribly with teething and has always needed lots and lots of physical affection and attention which Dh and I both give her in spades! She doesn't go to a nursery yet so obviously she isn't used to other kids but I don't know how to GET her used to other kids when she won't tolerate them in the same room!!!

HearMyRoar Thu 06-Nov-14 17:47:49

Could you try getting her another super amazing, lovely, cuddly going out toy for her that doesn't have the sleep associations but can still act as a comforter for her?

I know children never seem to attach to things when we actually want them to, but maybe worth a try.

Emeraldgirl2 Thu 06-Nov-14 18:59:36

HearMyRoar - thank you!!!

She does have a couple of other special cuddly toys in fact - a bear and a monkey; she's a bit one for the animals!!! - and they do come out with us and can be helpful but when she is really fed up they just seem to serve as a reminder that they're not the one she REALLY wants...

Gemmielou Thu 06-Nov-14 21:01:14

Hi, I came on here a few weeks ago for some advice as my DD is very shy, and we have just stopped swimming classes because of how upset she got, I saw that someone recommended a book called "The Highly Sensitive Child" I haven't got it yet but intend to xxx

Emeraldgirl2 Thu 06-Nov-14 21:17:55

Gemmie thank you!! I will Google it now...

snigger Thu 06-Nov-14 21:45:28

I'm afraid I come with no suggestions, but bucketloads of empathy.

If it helps, in any way, DD2 at that age would take her snack at toddler group and sit with her back to the rest of the perfectly well adjusted kids and growl if anyone came near her and her mini Cheddars.

If it were me, looking back, I'd give her all the affection and attention she requires, and perhaps occasionally, with suitable parental angst, chuck her into the mayhem of a toddler group and see how she floats. Like you say, she'll never get accustomed to other kids till she's with them, so as long as you're there to bail her out if it genuinely gets too much for her, immersion therapy may be worth a go.

CinnamonBuns Thu 06-Nov-14 21:49:45

My ds is going through a clingy phase and I'm just riding it out. He's 22 months

We go to the park mainly, nice big open spaces and kick leaves around or to the playground early morning when it is quiet. I avoid playgroups at the moment as he doesn't enjoy them but will try again next month maybe.

It's a typical age for clingy-ness so my advice is embrace it, be there as much as you can and it will pass x

Iggly Thu 06-Nov-14 22:22:10

Why not remove the dummies and give her bunny for outings?

If she is dozing it sounds like she's very tired and cranky. Maybe her napping scheduling suits you but not her.....

Emeraldgirl2 Thu 06-Nov-14 22:40:11

Iggly, nope, tried that, only the dummy clad one will do! The dummy less one is an insult to her smile

She's tired because she's a chronically early riser, we get into very bad phases of it because with her, less sleep breeds less slep... So eg if something (a police siren, a builder working next door) accidentally wakes her from her nap, she wakes early the next day through over tiredness... And then her nap is shorter as she is overtired... And so then she wakes early agin because her nap was too short...

Goldmandra Thu 06-Nov-14 22:47:54

Don't try to push her into spending time with other toddlers. She's too young to benefit significantly from interacting with them and putting her in situations that distress her would probably just make her more fearful of them, not less. She needs be the one to decide when she is ready to join in with her peers.

Continue to take her out and about so that she is near other people but go no further than that. Make sure that you are using relaxed tones of voice and body language when she is making a fuss so that you don't reinforce the message that there is something to be scared of.

I would agree with the suggestion of detaching the dummies and taking bunny out except for the risk of losing him. If he does go AWOL, I would imagine all your lives will be hell for a while so it's perhaps not worth the risk.

CinnamonBuns Fri 07-Nov-14 08:10:51

What time does she wake and nap?

Iggly Fri 07-Nov-14 17:01:23

I would engineer your outings so that she is napping in her pushchair at nap time. I did the same with mine. My son still had two naps even as he approached two because he woke early. We did phase them out. It was better to do it this way then try and stress about how we thought he should be sleeping.

I'd give her the bunny and be done with it until uyou get her back into a proper routine. She just sounds tired and grumpy to me.

NoMarymary Sat 08-Nov-14 10:24:29

Don't push her into situations that increase her anxiety. Take it at her pace. The mini city jogger has a huge hood that comes almost all the way down and allows the toddler to 'hide' from the world. Maybe invest in a second hand one?

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