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My 3 1/2 year old son is super clingy

I don't know what happened but all of the sudden my son won't go to his room to sleep without one of us in there with him. We have to sneak out after he falls asleep. He talks about monsters and being scared for us to leave him alone. He recently switched schools because he cried everyday at his last school so I put him back in his old school that he used to love. He cries there too, clings to the teachers and constantly asks for me. He has all of his friends in his class but he doesn't play with them, just stays with the teachers. The sleeping issue started on Friday night, he's always been an awesome sleeper. The mommy clinging started about 2-3 months ago. I'm sitting here crying at work because I just don't know what to do to make him happy and put things back to normal. I want my happy little boy back. Please help us.

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Asked by maris6679 at 11:05 AM on May. 4, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (7)
  • it could just be phase. my son is turning 3...he really gets worked up when i leave him at the babysitter and go to work. the best thing you can do is make the goodbye short and sweet. i always tell him, brody i love you, mommy will be back in a few hours, have fun, and then i leave. i try my hardest not to draw it out and always remind myself that the break is good for both of us. we often encounter the night time fuss too and i am very consistent with having him go to bed by himself and staying in his own bed all night. its hard, but you have to be strong. he calls me mom of course, but even when i work in the evening, he always asks his dad, "where's sandi?" and will cry and look for me. boys love their mommas! good luck!

    Answer by brodysmama23 at 11:13 AM on May. 4, 2010

  • It's pretty common for children that age to go through a clingy stage. When my son was afraid of "monsters" my hub and I gave him "monster spray" ie. water lol. I would also go in his room and pound on his floors and bed and walls to tell the monsters to GO away and to leave my son alone lol. I never stayed with either of my kids till they fell asleep, it's not something that hub and I believed in. My son loved pre-school so that wasn't a problem. My daughter was very clingy, but I didn't change any routines because of that. Hub and I would still have our "dates", And if I left her with a friend, I would kiss and hug her goodbye, then leave. It didnt' last long with either child. From my experience, if you give in to it, then you prolong it. But all children are different and what worked for my family might not work for yours. Best of luck and know that this too shall pass

    Answer by Zakysmommy at 11:14 AM on May. 4, 2010

  • Sounds to me like he has a little bit of seperation anxiety. My DS is four and goes through this sometimes too. I know that it can tug at your heart strings but you need to be consitant and practice time apart from one another. Usually this is only temporary but if lasts for several years (after they are in grade school) you should talk to your doctor. It is completely normal for children of this age to go through this, but if he keeps showing distress with going to the preschool it may be because of the preschool. If you want more info on how to do this just google seperation anxiety and there are plenty of articles on how to deal with this type of situtaiton.

    Answer by saysha100687 at 11:15 AM on May. 4, 2010

  • Three year olds don't need to go to "school", they need to be with their mother and form a secure attachment. Take him out of "school". I think you mean day care, then a day care center is always last choice for young children. Someone coming to your home is first. Second is finding someone that takes care of only her kids and your son. Why I think you mean day care is because you say you work.

    Get rid of all books that have to do with monsters. Even the ones about good monsters or being brave about monsters. Don't let him watch any TV, ect. about monsters. Put something in his room to make him feel safe like a dream catcher.


    Answer by Gailll at 11:23 AM on May. 4, 2010

  • He's never been like this before - it literally happened overnight. I've never, ever had to stay with him in his room to fall asleep. He wants to come into our bed but we both forbid it - I refuse to start a pattern with that. When we go to leave his room, the fear in his eyes is something i've never seen in him before.

    Gailll - yes - when I say school, I mean daycare. I work full time and he is in an awardwinning daycare center, which we all love. Our 9 month old is in it too. I will take you up on the idea of a dream catcher, i like that but I also believe in children being in an environment with other children to enhance their social skills. Being stuck at home with a babysitter is not something I believe in.

    Answer by maris6679 at 11:30 AM on May. 4, 2010

  • Try a dream catcher or a "monster spray" and see if that helps. It helped with our son. I would also say prayers with my son when he went through that phase, we are not a religous family, but asking God to protect my son in his sleep helped as well

    Answer by Zakysmommy at 11:48 AM on May. 4, 2010

  • Does he have a nightlight or lamp you could turn on? My son developed a fear of the dark a while back, and we put a lamp in his room. We haven't had an issue with the dark since. He also had a fear of monsters, and we did the monster spray for about a week. We chose to discontinue that method because he figured out that he could have us keep spraying and stay up later. Now whenever monsters show up, we tell him "They just came to say hi, and now they're going home to their mommy and daddy." He's not afraid of them anymore (you can see it in his face), but he still brings them up on occasion.

    As far as the clinginess, my son does that, too. I think it's just a phase that all kids go through, because my son is starting to "allow" me to leave the room without him on occasion.

    Answer by makelineerror at 1:07 PM on May. 4, 2010

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