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4 year old developing a tic after starting school

(3 Posts)
Dickens34 Fri 16-Nov-12 11:23:28

This is my first post on Mumsnet although I used the website a lot.
My son has just started school this September and I thought had settled in really well, made new friends, doing well academically, etc, etc - all very pleased with the start to school. However this last fortnight he has suddenly become incredibly scared of the dark and empty rooms to the point where he wants accompanying almost everywhere around the house mostly in the evening but also during the day on occasion. He has also developed a tic (shrugging his head/shoulders as if his hair is itching him at the back of his neck - but he had a hair cut recently). He has also been saying a lot of things a long the lines of 'I don't get cuddles anymore', 'we never snuggle up anymore' etc.

We've made sure there's nothing itching him and we've offered to rub cream into his neck if it is itchy. We're also trying to make sure he gets to do the early morning snuggles like he used to. If we say that witches/ghosts/etc are made up for stories, he wants to know 'why would anyone make them up' and 'how do we know they are made up if no-one has ever seen them'.

He is a bright boy who was more than ready for school - he's reading is coming brilliantly and he is in a little maths group for kids who need pushing.

I'm concerned that the combination of behaviours is an indication that he's feeling insecure or anxious about moving on to school even though he is giving all the outward signs of enjoying it all. Perhaps he's feeling a sense of pressure to perform well in his new class as he was ahead of many kids in pre-school. Suddenly he is surrounded by other kids as able, or more able than he is - could this be stressing him out?

If anyone has had any similar experiences I'd love to hear about it for reassurance and for strategies to help him. I'm worried that he isn't the happy boy he used to be.
Thanks for reading.

3b1g Fri 16-Nov-12 14:46:27

Hi. Two of my children have suffered from transient tics, I think some children are more susceptible than others. DS1 suffered worse in Y6 but he was stressed for several reasons, the tics have disappeared since starting secondary school. DD had one (a very annoying throat clearing noise) for most of Y3, it disappeared once she gained confidence with her work. I can't give you any advice really, but can reassure you that this is fairly common and almost always temporary. The fear of the dark and going into rooms alone is also very common, I've heard that it's a sign of a good imagination! For now, I would keep doing what you're doing.

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Sat 17-Nov-12 19:04:33

My DS has needed lots of extra cuddles and reassurance too. His thing when he gets stressed is rituals he has to do. His teacher is saying he is making good progress and is developing good friendships but I know that he finds the school experience very difficult. I think this is quite common. I mean IT is a big change and preschool is very different to reception and school. New rules, lots of children he has to get used to, different adults to get to know, new routines, lots of noise and, of course, the work.

My boy is also suddenly afraid of the dark, witches, ghosts etc I think it's a developmental thing. I have resorted to saying mummy has special magic powers and I won't let any of these things into the house. It may be wrong that I don't deny there are these things, but he is not going to believe me when I say there are no such things as ghosts because in their imagination, there are ghosts. Anyway, he does believe that mummy has special magic powers and there may be ghosts etc but not in our house! smile

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