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Separation Anxiety

(22 Posts)
britgran Wed 20-Nov-19 11:02:42

I think I posted this on the wrong forum 😱 I have six beautiful GDs just lately the youngest has become very clingy with her Mummy, when my DIL left her with us today she was hysterical , screaming over and over ' I want my Mummy ' I've spoken to my DIL and she's doing this whenever she leaves her, at nursery or with her other Grandparents, she's 3 yes old and is getting so distressed, this morning I tried distracting her , then ignoring her screaming, she did eventually calm down with a lot of cajoling, has anybody had to deal with this problem and can advise me how to deal with it,

Daddima Wed 20-Nov-19 11:10:12

When I worked in early years, we advised the parent to tell the child calmly that they were going now, but would be back soon, and then to go immediately. Ideally, they could leave for short periods of time at first, so the wee one learns that she will come back. ‘ Sneaking out’ was never an option!

crazyH Wed 20-Nov-19 11:10:52

Yes, i had one such granddaughter, who cried hysterically, , every time my daughter left for work. She used to be literally sick. It took at least an hour to settle her. On one occasion, I had to ring my daughter and ask her to return from work. Her Boss was good and allowed her to take a day off.

MamaCaz Wed 20-Nov-19 13:16:27

My dgd was ok-ish with me, but screamed for hours when first left at nursery (age 2.5). She wouldn't let the staff there hold and comfort her either - it was only the slightly older girls who she would eventually allow to 'mother' her. It took a whole term for her to settle, but she got there in the end.

sodapop Wed 20-Nov-19 13:42:50

A lot of young children seem to go through this phase. Daddima's advice was spot on I thought.

humptydumpty Wed 20-Nov-19 13:55:54

FWIW my DD was very much like that, sometimes I would sit and cry in the car park because I felt so wretched leaving her there while I went to work; but same DD, now an adult, looks back fondly at her time in nursery and how she enjoyed it! So don't worry too much, is what I'm saying, it wwill resolve over time.

M0nica Wed 20-Nov-19 14:31:21

Even the most sociable of toddlers can go through a period of separation anxiety. My son would go to anyone whether he knew them or not. Then at two, he wouldn't let me out of his sight. It lasted a few months and then he want back to being sociable again.

DD's nursery used to sit the children down as soon as they arrived, with crayons and paper to get drawing or jigsaws. the chidren got so engaged in what they were doing that parents just sat them down,got them sorted and wandered off. The transition from this first activity was managed so that most just moved on without any trouble at all. now and again, someone would realise their mother was not there and get a bit upset, but not normally for long or very much.

BlueBelle Thu 21-Nov-19 08:05:21

Get mum to leave her cardi or jacket or something special ask the little one to look after it till she gets back... it’s a link for the child
It’s a phase she’s ll get over it
I was talking to my adult son recently and was asking about different things in his childhood which he seems to have no memory of so all the sacrifices I made I may as well just have sat with a bottle of gin and left him to play in the mud 😂😂😂

TwiceAsNice Thu 21-Nov-19 08:23:32

I echo the thing from Mum but also make sure she has her own comfort object that she sleeps with. If my granddaughter was upset she was twice as bad if she didn’t have hers with her. When my friends DD dropped her child off she took her straight out for half an hour, she said it distracts her better than being in the house. Worth a try maybe?

Iam64 Thu 21-Nov-19 08:31:31

It isn't unusual at 3 for a child to suddenly hit separation anxiety, especially if anything in their routine or living arrangements have changed. We found having something interesting set out on the table, ready for our three year old to get involved in helped distract him during the transition when his mummy left for work. Playdoh, colouring books, painting stuff, a new jigsaw - whatever your little one enjoys

sodapop Thu 21-Nov-19 08:46:41

Yes why is that BlueBelle my daughters are always trotting out gaffes, and non maternal things I did in their childhood, never any comments on the good things I did. Back to the gin.

silverlining48 Thu 21-Nov-19 08:57:21

I am with you soda. Same thing with my dds.

polnan Thu 21-Nov-19 09:48:14

not gks, but my youngest son, many years ago, always cried when I first took him to school, when I left to go to work, the ladies there told me that he stopped crying as soon as I left and was fine!

grandtanteJE65 Thu 21-Nov-19 10:30:09

This is definitely a phase that all toddlers left either at nursery, day-care or with grandparents go through.

Unfortunately, if her mother is working she has no option but to leave the little one for the entire working day.

In my experience most children stop crying once their parents have left, but your grandchild is still at the stage of crying for a longish while.

Use whatever works best with her, distraction, or ignoring her.

Don't say mummy will be back, as a toddler thinks that means now. In a while she will realise that Mummy does come back every afternoon.

It is a horridly wearing phase for you, the child and her mother, but it will pass.

optimist Thu 21-Nov-19 11:41:29

Agree with Daddima. Please dont ignore her needs though. Stay close.

Kartush Thu 21-Nov-19 12:53:03

We have our great grandson every Friday, at first he used to cry when his mam left his so we started a sort of game, she would carry him back to the door then I would take him and go through a whole routine, wave goodbye to mam, can you see her car wave to the car, then we would play with a toy on the verandah while she got in the car Took a few weeks but he got used to the routine now when she brings him if she stays too long talking he starts pointing to the door like he is telling her to go

Mrsdof Thu 21-Nov-19 14:46:25

I was always told to leave an old purse with a few coins/keys in it for my son to look after for me. Then I told him I would be back later and asked him to take good care of my purse for me because I would need it later when we went home. It seemed to work quite well and he happily trotted off clutching the purse!

TrendyNannie6 Thu 21-Nov-19 14:47:41

I think it’s quite common to hear this I know two of mine cried all went through it on different stages it is heartbreaking to hear what a lovely boss your daughter had CrazyH. It’s sometimes about finding the best distraction for the child not easy sometimes

Sussexborn Thu 21-Nov-19 17:13:52

Can remember my son hanging on to a lamppost and another little girl hanging on to a tree just outside the play school. Perfectly good school with kind staff but passers by must have wondered what was going on. He settled down once he, and several others, were invited to a birthday party that turned out to be imaginary!

britgran Sat 23-Nov-19 22:55:33

Thank you everybody, she's a funny strongwilled little girl , I adore her, this is not something I've experienced before, I've read up on it but I think it's always helpful to listen to others that have coped with the issue, reading your replies has been enlightening flowers

grannyactivist Sat 23-Nov-19 23:22:28

Separation anxiety is common and can occur with even the most confident seeming of children, with careful handling the child can usually come through it unscathed.

Three of my children went off without a backward glance, a fourth showed what I would describe as stoic anxiety, but the fifth went to nursery school as though I was taking him to the guillotine and would begin to silently cry as we approached the door. The problem was most definitely exacerbated by the school's inappropriate handling of the situation. Sadly he had such a bad experience that I gave up work and we moved house so that his (and his siblings') schooling experience improved (from a very low base - it was a terrible school).

cornergran Sun 24-Nov-19 08:16:40

Separation anxiety is normal, a part of maturing and yes, it does pass. I’d suggest experimenting to find a routine that your granddaughter responds to.

One granddaughter just needed to be quiet for a while, a sort of grief I think. Another granddaughter went through a phase of being angrily upset when her parents left her. For her the best thing was to wave goodbye and go straight to an activity she loved which varied from a cuddle watching tv to being admired while she ran up and down the garden. It was very much harder for her when they crept away.

Our youngest grandchild is a ‘need to know’ child. So, where is Mummy going, what will she be doing, when will she be back, (eg before lunch, after bath time) and exactly what will I be doing while Mummy isn’t here.

It can take what feels like forever to work out a strategy for each one. Looking back what they needed was and is very individual. Don’t despair, it will definitely pass, a routine of sorts does seem to help it’s just finding the right thing.