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Separation anxiety in 5yr old dd - how do you handle it?

(11 Posts)
mrscraig Fri 19-Sep-08 09:42:15

Have posted about my 5 yr old dd before. Since a baby she has never been very good at parting from me and I think this is part of her character. I work pt as an infant teacher but as a parent feel completely inequipped to know how to handle this now. I also feel so guilty that working has meant I have let her down in some way and not been there for her.

Its so difficult to know what to so - I dont want to be feeding the behaviour but I also want to reassure and be empathetic. This is all very real to her and I dont want to be dismissive but neither do I want to make mountains out of molehills.

She is sooo like me as a child - desperate to please and anxious to do the right thing, I see a lot of my traits that I would rather she didnt have!
She is now in Y1 and I am dreading taking her to school as she is so upset going in. She is worse now than in Reception. She has been worried her teacher (who is of the old-school/traditional type) is going to tell her off. I spoke to her teacher about it, who said she is an angel and has nothing to do worry about.

As a teacher, I know exactly how to handle a child like this and without blowing my own trumpet am pretty successful! As a parent I feel hopeless. I have tried a 'happy face' chart this week - but to no avail. I want to play it down but I also want to reassure her.
So .... what to do now? Has anyone got any tips I could try? Am feeling completely useless!!!

madness Fri 19-Sep-08 10:00:22

hm, sounds like my dd, she loves school but at the same time doesn't want me to leave her. Will hopefully see some good answers.....

LurkerOfTheUniverse Fri 19-Sep-08 10:10:32

my dd is exactly the same! same age too

it's hard, she can be especially clingy at night time

she is also quite anxious at the moment, she has moved up to Yr 1 also

sorry, don't have many tips really, i just accept that this is who she is and try and reassure her when i can

mrscraig Fri 19-Sep-08 11:19:49

Lurker - love your name!!!
Its just how to handle it - wondered if anyone has been through it and is at the other side!

mrscraig Fri 19-Sep-08 13:36:31

Any tips??? x

ihearthuckabees Fri 19-Sep-08 13:54:03

I think you have to be as matter-of-fact as you can at the moment of separation. Say, "I love you, off you go now and have a lovely day. See you at home time/later." in as cheerful a voice as you can muster, then hand her over and leave. (You may need to enlist the help of the teacher or assistant,so they can stop her running after you.)

Then at pick up time, just be there, say "how lovely to see you." and set off home. Don't ask too much about her day, just be pleased to see her without getting into too much analysis of how she felt etc.

I'm sure you are aware that a lot of kids are fine once their parent is away. My DS used to do this a lot at nursery (admittedly he was younger than your DD) and I just shut my ears to his screams and legged it. It was horrible, but he was always fine once I'd left, and is quite an independent little guy now.

I'm don't have much advice about the anxiety to please everyone. Isn't it pretty normal at this stage to want to keep your teacher happy? Confidence comes more easily for some people, but I'm sure she is, deep down, secure and feels happy and loved, which will always be part of her and help her through life, even if she worries about dealing with other people (friends, teachers etc).


seeker Fri 19-Sep-08 14:00:45

My dd was like this - we just had to hand her over and run. I used to sit on the wall outside the school crying until I got a phone call to say she was happy. Usually it was about 3 minutes later!

I think some children are just like this - my dd is 12 now, and still misses me a lot and hates the moment of parting, although she appears very confident.

She once said that she felt as if there was an invisible wall in front of her and she had to break through it to get to school, or the party, or whatever it was she was having trouble going to, leaving me on the other side and sometimes it was hard to break. But once it was broken she was OK.

LurkerOfTheUniverse Fri 19-Sep-08 14:12:04

aw, seeker, your dd sounds lovely, very eloquent for one so young

mrscraig Fri 19-Sep-08 14:18:48

I think I am just going to back off and let her be. I do tend to over analyse but when you see your child so upset it;'s hard not to. I know she is happy once I am out of the picture - walked past her play ground at lunch time and there she was happy as larry. She saw me, gave me a kiss through the fence and whizzed off.

It is so heartbreaking. I know as a teacher they're generally fine once youve gone. I do also feel I handle children like this a lot more effectively than her teacher seems - which is frustrating.

I agree seeker, your daughter sounds gorgeous.

mrscraig Fri 19-Sep-08 14:20:17

Just re-read your pose huckabees. Thank you for being so lovely!

ihearthuckabees Fri 19-Sep-08 15:52:10

Your welcome mrscraig. Hope things get easier with time.

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