3.6 yo very negative and won't try new things - no idea what to do about it and need help.(17 Posts)
Hi all, my DD has always been very reliant on me and shy with new things and people, especially other children. Lately this has become much worse to the extent that she refuses to even try anything new. I want to start swimming and French lessons with her but she dislikes the idea to the point of tears.
She is very bright and imaginative with an advanced vocabulary, is an only child but with 6 older cousins that she sees regularly (and adores) and has never been to nursery (work from home so can fit this around her). We don't do a huge amount, which is one of the reasons that I wanted to start to do more structured stuff, but she can cope with new things really well (recently went to Canada and she was an angel on flights and while there). I really need some strategies for encouraging her to try new things because I've run out of ideas.
BTW, once she is over her initial shyness with new people she loves talking to them though this doesn't include children of her age group. And I never describe her as shy in her hearing, just that she takes a while to warm up.
short as I have to go out but..my dd1 was like this and still is to a certain extent (hates change, can be anxious) - she is nearly 9.
Your dd sounds lovely
I would listen to her tbh. I 'pandered' to dd1 after trying and trying. She was very happy at home with me. Could she go swimming With you? I know bright and imaginative children can sometimes be wearing! but if you make sure she feels utterly secure at each stage she will soon be ready to move on. Music classes etc were a nightmare with dd1 and I still think about it when I see her charging off on a pony or racing into hockey class [fond]
And you don't need me to tell you about the ridiculousness of French classes for a 3.6 year old do you . Listen to her. She is talking sense .
I know about the ridiculousness of French for 3yo's, it just seems like a nice way of doing something new with her, plus a friend and her 3yo will be going. The swimming and French would both be with me which is why I'm a bit frustrated. Maybe I need to think a little more 'laterally' about it all and just do more of the things that she loves doing but in new ways.
Thanks Enid, she is lovely and really good company. It's good to know I'm not the only one.
Ooh she sounds just like my neighbour's son. He has two lovely older brothers, a sweet little sister, cousins, a nice nanny and parents who work full-time so when his mum's about he doesn't want to share her.
He's usually negative about neighbourhood get togethers.
And when you think about it from his point of view, he's got a great deal at home! So why would he want to go and mix with his peers?
His mum is taking it very gently. She's a paediatrician so perhaps her experience helps her to resist the pressure to make them "socialise". But she has now placed him in school nursery and after a couple of months (with lots of crying he has adapted.
I think your starting-point should be to accept her just as she is and take it slowly .... perhaps just observe, wait and listen until she leads the way to some new activity.
Thanks Lingle, only just seen your response. I think you're right, trying to force her to do stuff makes things far worse. I shall just carry on taking things at her pace and ignore anything else.
I have a 3.3 year old like this although he does now go to nursery 5 mornings a week. I work full time so I think he is worse when Iam around as he absolutely does not want to share me with anyone and is MUCH better at playing with other children when I am not there
Ds has always been like this (although I wouldn't describe him as bright tbh).
He wouldn't even go to toddler group but when he got to nursery class he seemed to enjoy it a lot more. He's now 4.7 and isn't quite so reluctant to join in and try new things - I think you need to go at their pace and praise them quite a lot (but without making it a big deal if that makes sense)
My DS2 is a bit like this. Very resistant to trying new things and meeting new people although he is alright with children, it is adults he isn't happy with.
I think he is very bright too and have been told he has a huge vocabulary as well. I had all the refusal to go to things like music groups and Tumbletots.
He did go to pre-school (just started Yr R) and had a lovely time with the children but never wanted to join in with organised activities like singing and dancing although he can do them at home. He didn't want to try things he had never done before without a huge amount of coaxing.
I discussed this with his key worker just before he left. She thought it was a lack of confidence and that he didn't believe he could do things but I have take that one step further and thing that he is frightened of not doing things properly and have come to the conclusion he is a bit of a perfectionist and doesn't like to try as he hates to fail. I have seen this when he does try something and doesn't meet his own high standards, no matter what anybody else says to him.
We have found that the only way to get him to try new things is to offer things to him and, if he refuses, to gently keep offering. In the end he has a go and seems surprised with what he can manage but it takes A LOT of patience (which is something I stuggle with) to get him to have a go.
Have you thought about putting her into pre-school for a couple of mornings a week? I suggest it only because this time next year she will be in school and it is a lot harder to take slowly and get her used to being there so she could maybe do with some confidence booasting time away from you before then?
A gentle suggestion only - not suggesting you should do anything you and she aren't comfortable with but it may be a worth a few weeks of upset to get her comfortable being away from you for short times.
I've though of nursery/pre-school but tbh I'm not sure she will be going to school next year. Personally, I think that 4.5 is way to young to be starting formal education and I can't think of one thing that she will be gaining from going to school (socialisation isn't a problem - shyness is).
My DS is like this (nearly 7). He also finds change difficult and gets anxious. I was always carting him around to new things which he just hated. It's so much better now he's at school. You just have to accept we are all different and go at their pace. For example, DD1 is completely fearless and scampers up the highest ladder to jump into a pool etc whereas DS still prefers messing around in a paddling pool.
Hi haven't had chance to read it all but Ds much the same, now 5 and won't do swimming lessons (so I take him) or clubs etc, goes to parties/friends houses but insists i stay.
I don't push him, but do encourage. Until he was 4 he would cling to me at parties, but now runs off to play so soon i will start trying to leave.
He is building up the courage to go to school disco as he knows i won't be able to stay. I let him decide.
I am not saying you are wrong, really I'm not, but in our case, shyness is only overcome by facing it and getting through it. DS will open up to people when he has got used to them and he wouldn't have done that by being at home. And the more he does that the less shy he becomes over time.
I don't push him, I am just there with him and if he spends the whole time sat on my lap then next time he usually at least stands next to me and then the next time after than he will go round and do things but holding my hand.
I don't deny it is hard but it has helped DS so far and I am there for him to help him deal with the next new thing he isn't comfortable with when he gets there but he also has a teacher/TA that he now trusts to do things with at school.
Anyway, you know your daughter. I would say, don't give up and keep trying with new things. Have you ever actually taken her swimming for example? Maybe start off by taking her to the pool and watching others. Sometimes fear of the unknown is worse than than the reality of going somewhere but our children haven't learnt that yet.
And I agree with all you've written Niecie . I'm going to start swimming with her (it was always the plan to do it together) as I feel it is really important that she learns to swim. Thanks for all of the encouragement everyone. It is good to know I'm not alone.
Steady on, you don't have to agree with it all!
Good luck with the swimming.
By the way, as DS2 clung to my leg at a party last week a lady came up to me and said her DS used to be like that when he was little but last week he gave a talk to a large group of people with no script and was absolutely fine - he is 16 now. She found that the shy, clingy ones in her experience, are the ones who go into adulthood as the most confident ones. She may well have a point.
Niecle - I agree. I think with shy kids its important to set a good example. I used to go to parties and join in (get on the bouncy castle if need be!) I also try to chat to other mums in playground and invite people round to the house etc.
Callisto, my ds made huge leaps and bounds with his shyness when he started nursery school last year, I was really surprised. He was the same age as your dd.
And you'd be surprised how informal Reception class can be. Ds seems to play all day which is fine by me!
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