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My 5 year old has seperation anxiety. What can I do?

My dd just turned 5 a few days ago. But for a little over a month she doesn't want to go anywhere or do anything without me. She was in preschool and LOVED going. Until a little over a month ago. She said she accidentally hit a girl in the eye with a toy. It took her a few days to tell me this, and I wasn't mad or anything. Before she told me she all of a sudden didn't like school (she did before) and didn't want to go and of course no one at the preschool (it was a preschool at our local high school) saw anything. So she finally tells me and I told her it was an accident and it was over and ok. Ever since I can not be out of her sight. Literally. She cries if I go to the car for a second. She doesn't even want to have time with her dad. That is totally not like her. We have a 6 month old son too, but I don't think this is all because of him. I have taken her out just us and nothing seems to work. I don't know what to do. this isn't how my daughter usually acts. Everywhere we go she HAS to be with me or she cries.

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Asked by mantamoo at 7:48 AM on Jun. 9, 2011 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 5 (94 Credits)
Answers (12)
  • Ride it out with your child. If they want to be with you more and it's within your boundaries, give them a little more of you than normal but set a CLEAR boundary to follow showing that you are accommodating them, (sorry for poor word choice) and spending more time with them as they are needing it. It's pro active for both of you.

    Answer by DallasFan08 at 8:03 AM on Jun. 9, 2011

  • Poor girl, at least she felt bad about what she did and she'll probably never do it again. She'll get over it in time. I wouldn't cater to her wanting to be with you ALL the time though. Let her cry a little, it won't hurt her, you don't want to give her the idea that crying will get her way.

    Answer by momov4kids at 8:15 AM on Jun. 9, 2011

  • I agree with momo...don't over cater to her. she will be ok. a little separation will be good for her...

    Answer by mkdirector2011 at 9:11 AM on Jun. 9, 2011

  • We are going through the same thing. If I say get your shoes on , we're going to the store, and walk out of the room, she freaks and starts screaming "don't leave me". Like I ever would. We're just riding it out and reassuring her.

    Answer by elasmimi at 4:47 PM on Jun. 9, 2011

  • Ignoring a child's thought and feelings can cause anxiety to become much more severe. Anxiety can be very serious and often children are not seen until it is out of hand and so much more work needs to be done. If you have a routine stick with it. If you have not adjusted to the summer schedule or are a little more lax over the summer - get a routine. Point out her emotions, it is tge first step in emotional regulation. Say: you are feeling happy. Or: right now you are mad. And: you're nervous. Soon she will learn to identify feelings on her own. But do this multiple times a day. Then set thirty minutes twice a week for a special play time uninterupted. Do not direct play or correct her. Only redirect if she is doing something unsafe. This is just your special play time where you listen, observe her actions and describe what she is doing. Also include noting how she feels to her. If not improved in

    Answer by frogdawg at 8:03 PM on Jun. 9, 2011

  • three weeks, see her primary doctor and ask for a referal to a piediatric therapist. Do acknowledge her feelings. Do hold her. Do take time to encourage her to verbalize her thoughts and be patient. Smile and be reassuring. It should have some reduction in frequency of episodes. Write down how many she has a day over three weeks, circumstances leading up to it, and how long it took to calm down. If this is really just a "phase" it will pass in several weeks. If it is a true start to generalized anxiety disorder it will not settle in several weeks. If it does settle, reherse school routine for two weeks pror to school starting.

    Answer by frogdawg at 8:10 PM on Jun. 9, 2011

  • Awww, my son goes through spurts where he wants only me and then not. He's 6. Give her attention and love, and explain to her that you have other things to do too, and make plans for more attention and love later on.

    Answer by Pnukey at 4:56 AM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • i wouldnt play into it too much explain that there are times she can not be with you...if it continues more than a month id talk to her dr

    Answer by ilovemyboys84 at 8:51 PM on Jun. 11, 2011

  • it's probably just a phase she is going through.

    Answer by Kainalu55 at 4:22 PM on Jun. 14, 2011

  • Ride it out, its just a phase

    Answer by aj23 at 10:31 PM on Jun. 14, 2011

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