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3 year old DS suddenly clingy

(13 Posts)
llareggub Tue 06-Oct-09 09:08:06

DS is 3 this month and has been at pre-school since he was 2.4.

He started there when I was pregnant with DS2 and he settled in very well. On his first day he marched in and didn't look back at me at all. He told me that he loved it there and seemed incredibly happy between February and July when term ended.

This term has been a different story. He won't let me go when he is dropped off, wants lots of cuddles and kisses and cries when I slip off. At first I put it down to it being September and it being hard to settle back after a long break, but it has been 4 weeks now. He is also similarly clingy when he spends the day with his grandparents. He and his grandparents have an incredibly loving relationship so it is very odd that suddenly he won't stay there.

He is also sleeping badly at night. He has the usual tantrums from time to time but nothing too horrific.

DS2 is now 5 months and I've pretty much continued the same routine with DS1 as we've always done. I try and spend some time with DS1 on his own every day, but inevitably I end up walking off with DS2 when DS1 is left at pre-school.

Any ideas, thoughts? DS1 is fairly articulate and tells me that he likes his teachers, other children. He did tell me that ghost but when I questioned him further he told me is was just pretend, silly. So I'm none the wiser really.

MunkyNuts Tue 06-Oct-09 10:32:42

Not sure about this really but just a thought. My DD1 was fine when DS2 arrived, then DS2 started to grow and DD1 realised that DS2 was taking up quite a bit of my time and perhaps it wasn´t such a good thing to have a little brother after all. Do you think DS1 feels that DS2 and you are having fun without him while he´s at school or grandparents? Maybe he really doesn´t like sharing you so much and that´s why he´s getting clingy. I think it is a big shock for DC1 when they´ve had Mum to themselves and suddenly they´re expected to share. If this is the case, sounds like you´re doing the right things - keeping to his routine and making one to one time with him. Keep reassuring him that he´s important and special (with attention and cuddles) and that a new brother doesn´t change this and in time he´ll realise this is true. He sounds like a lovely little fella and you a loving and concerned Mummy. Incidentally night terrors are common at this age so his bad sleep could be caused by that as well as concerns about a new brother.

llareggub Wed 07-Oct-09 10:52:36

Thanks for that MunkyNuts. It had crossed my mind that he isn't overly thrilled with his brother so I asked if he wanted us to go out alone on Friday. He said he wanted his brother to come so I'm not sure now. He drove past his school with his grandmother and said he wanted to go in, so I'm completely at a loss. Maybe it's just because he is 3?

tetleytea Wed 07-Oct-09 12:06:18

Ditto last post about night terrors, AND about just being 3!

My 3.1 yr old never ever had a problem with nursery since she started a year ago. Now, after being left for the first time in her life with OH for a weekend 3 weeks ago when i had to go away for a wedding, everything has changed. It takes OH and i about 20 mins to leave her at nursery, compared to the usual 2, and she just doesn't seem to be getting over it. She gets "scared" at night, though v unclear about what.

All the cuddling and attention doesn't seem to make any difference.

I have to think that they make a psychological "growth leap" at this age, and their feelings get more complicated as they understand more....

Good luck! Let me know if anything you do "works"...

MunkyNuts Wed 07-Oct-09 12:12:26

Maybe it is simply bcos he´s 3. Presumably he´s fine once you´ve left him at school? Maybe he doesn´t mind having a younger brother after all, maybe he just wants to be part of the fun with Mummy and DS2 and feels he´s missing out by going to school and staying at the Grandparents? If this is the case maybe just play down anything interesting you might be doing without him, tell him you and DS2 can´t wait for him to come back and be with you both and give him something to look forward to that you´ll be doing together - going to park, playing his fave game, watching a DVD, reading stories etc. or ask him what he´d like to do when he gets back. I don´t know how well bribes work with him, but my DS (3yo) on starting school in Sept suddenly stopped being so clingy and tearful when I promised him a new toy he wanted at the end of the week if he behaved well and like a big boy at school. Just had to say "Mack Truck" (which incidentally is highly overpriced and badly made) and suddenly all clinginess at the school gate disappeared, he trotted in all smiles. I kept showing him pictures of blinkin truck (on internet) and in ToysRUs magazine to keep him going. We even cut one of them out and put it in his rucksack to take to school. Not sure if this would work with your DS as its not a new school and collywobbles about the place but just a thought... Also I was really sympathetic to DS at first and went along with how scary it all was for him, then after a while I stopped doing this, just gave a simple one word response or said "mmmm" to acknowledge I was listening, and the less I said the better it got. Sorry to ramble on, probably been of no use to you whatsoever!

3littlefrogs Wed 07-Oct-09 12:14:39

Sorry - what did you mean by:

"He did tell me that ghost but when I questioned him further he told me is was just pretend, silly"?

llareggub Wed 07-Oct-09 12:30:10

Sorry, it wasn't clear, was it?

He said there was a ghost there. I asked him about it and he said it was 'a pretend ghost, silly."

3littlefrogs Wed 07-Oct-09 12:35:24

Where did he say there was a ghost?

Sorry to pursue this, but my dd had an awful time with a ghost in her room - she was only 2, and I didn't realise. Once we got rid of it she was fine.

It is a very long story and I have told it on here before. I am not mad, honestly. Some children do see ghosts and it can cause problems such as you describe.

I see them, as did my mother, and so do my children. DH can't see them, but has to bow to the majority grin

llareggub Wed 07-Oct-09 13:11:00

At school, I think. He was talking about school so I've assumed he meant there.

The night terrors are a possibility; he told DH that there was smoke in his bedroom.

Your poor DD, frogs. Has she any memory of it?

3littlefrogs Wed 07-Oct-09 13:15:45

She does remember. It was awful at the time because she couldn't explain it to me. He was a horrible man.

She is extremely "sensitive " IYSWIM and I have had to get a medium to teach her how to shut down, until she is old enough to cope with it.

MunkyNuts Wed 07-Oct-09 20:21:30

That´s quite a major thing for a 2yo to deal with 3littlefrogs, glad you found help and she doesn´t have to deal with it now - it all sounds very fascinating, but I´m sure very frightening til you get used to it. Do you get used to it?

3littlefrogs Thu 08-Oct-09 18:02:22

I prefer not to visit places that are "haunted". I don't deliberately invite them in IYSWIM - although I have been told many times that I should develop my "gift" - I don't think I am ready to do that yet.

DD is much more sensitive than me, but too young to cope with it yet. She is an old soul, and very wise.

When I watch that daft programme (is it called "most haunted"?)I have to laugh at the way they get all worked up about a few lights and spheres though. Goodness knows how they would cope with meeting a ghost and having a conversation with him/her.

MarthaFarquhar Thu 08-Oct-09 18:09:47

My DD is 2.7 and has just entered a similar phase. I work pt and she goes to nursery 2.5days weekly, each week, and has been fine there, but being anywhere other than with us or at nursery is a problem for her at the moment.

We go to a toddler group together, and since the summer break has not left my side when we're there. She has also been much shyer around her much-loved grandparents and auntie. She also wants to hold my hand at all times when we're out and about, and never wanders far. When we ask if she wants to go out to the park/farm centre/library she is now very reluctant, despite almost always enjoying herself when we get there and she relaxes a bit.

We are fairly certain that there has been no trigger event for this, as nothing has changed in DD's life recently. So we are just giving her lots and lots of reassurance that we never far away, and allowing her to be clingy as far as possible.

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