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Advice on Parenting a Clingy Child

(66 Posts)
Carolynoco Thu 29-Apr-21 15:37:54

My granddaughter doesn't want to leave her mother at the nursery door. She cries and says she will miss her Mum. This has gone on now for about a month. She is fine once she goes in but this behavior isn't changing and is becoming a drama every day. She is nearly 5 so not a baby any more. We have tried someone else taking her to nursery with various degrees of success. I think being with her Mum all through lockdown hasn't helped. My daughter has tried sitting her down and talking to her and reassuring her that she will always collect her but nothing has changed. She doesn't want to leave her Mum and if I'm looking after her she just keeps saying tearfully "I miss my Mummy". Does anyone have any experience of how to deal with this successfully. I'm not sure if she is just manipulating her Mum!!! Am I being too harsh? Any help gratefully received.

GrannySomerset Thu 29-Apr-21 15:41:53

Sometimes giving the child something of Mummy’s (a scarf which smells of her) to look after can help. It’s a physical reminder that the child will be going home to give it back to Mummy. Found this very helpful with DS when at this stage (he soon lost the scarf and didn’t need it to remind him that all would be well). Small children live in the moment and can’t imagine even a close future.

Carolynoco Thu 29-Apr-21 15:53:57

Worth a try. Thank you.

timetogo2016 Thu 29-Apr-21 16:10:59

Great advice GrannySomerset.
I did just that when my 1st son started school and it worked wonders in less than a couple of weeks.
I gave him my silk scarf so it didn`t take up much room in his school bag.

tanith Thu 29-Apr-21 16:14:42

Has Mum tried after making sure the child has been given into the care of a trusted nursery person saying one goodbye and walking away. If she’s fine once Mums gone then the quicker the better.

Ilovecheese Thu 29-Apr-21 16:15:03

I know that nearly five is not a baby but it is still very young, this will pass, GrannySomerset makes a good suggestion. If you are patient and kind and do not try to "toughen her up" (I'm sure you wont) she will gradually feel more secure. You are probably right that lockdown has not helped.

AGAA4 Thu 29-Apr-21 16:18:59

I remember my mum leaving her favourite gloves with me when I had to stay in hospital. Parents were only allowed in at visiting times in those days. I knew she would come back for her gloves.

Grandmabatty Thu 29-Apr-21 16:20:25

Look up separation anxiety disorders. You and your daughter will find lots of helpful suggestions.

ValerieF Thu 29-Apr-21 21:26:11

Hmmm just part of life I am afraid. I remember crying for weeks for my mum when she left me at school too. No option only to go though is there? Especially if she is 5 and not 3. Where I live children move on to actual school by 5 not nursery

All you can do is persevere and ignore the tears. Unless, as someone says, there is any reason to suspect it is not a good nursery? Eventually she will accept that - this is life!

grandmajet Thu 29-Apr-21 21:39:34

She is still very young. My youngest daughter was clingy at that age. I remember chatting as cheerfully as possible about anything and everything on the way there, handing her over, with a quick kiss, to a member off staff, and leaving.
Is it possible with current restrictions to invite a friend from her class home to play, maybe with her mother, so as to form bonds outside the nursery situation?
By the way, my daughter is now a confident and competent adult.

Gelisajams Thu 29-Apr-21 21:54:33

My granddaughter responded well to her mum drawing a little heart on both their hands as a little reminder that they were apart but still in each other’s hearts.

pandapatch Thu 29-Apr-21 22:06:41

My grandson responded well to a picture chart showing the things that would happen till it was time to go home eg playtime, snack, outside play, lunch, play, storytime, home.

Carolynoco Fri 30-Apr-21 02:22:38

Thank you everyone for your very helpful suggestions. They all make good sense and we will take them on board. A problem shared is a problem halved. Thanks again.

BlueBelle Fri 30-Apr-21 06:02:56

When I first left school I worked as a teaching assistant in the nursery class it was so common... you d have some kids running in eager as a new puppy, some having a little hang back then being fine, and some that were incredible clingy and crying or in some cases screaming and hanging on like a limpet
The small bit of mummy to keep is a lovely idea but can be lost causing more distress I read of one mum who drew a little heart inside the child’s hand and one on hers and told the little one that if they got sad to look at the little heart and know mummy was thinking about her
It is normal though and will pass the less you worry or make a big deal of it the less she will don’t make a big thing if it

emmasnan Fri 30-Apr-21 09:29:52

This is common and if she's fine once she goes in there's probably no great concerns.
Try not to make a big thing of it, a quick but loving goodbye might be best. Try not to discuss the problem with others in front of her so that she doesn't feel its a big issue.

PaperMonster Fri 30-Apr-21 20:22:51

First of all, I’d say she’s not clingy, she’s attached which is healthy. I used to go into nursery with mine and she’d be ok if I went with her to the breakfast room and left her there, but not if I left her in the play area - I think it was the noise that unsettled her. Even now, at 9, when my parents collect her from school she asks how long I’ll be if I’m not there by a certain time and looks out of the window to see if she can see my car.

grandtanteJE65 Sun 02-May-21 10:39:39

Explanations have been tried and are not working, so now is the time to follow the suggestion to pop the child in through the door and walk away.

I know it sounds cruel, but it is not as nasty as it sounds.

Most children go through this phase at some point during the years of creche and nursery. They are not really worried about going to the nursery, they are trying to find out how much power they have to make mummy do what they want.

Not deliberately, it is a semi-conscious behaviour, but as most parents do not have the option not to send their little ones to nursery, making it clear to the child that this is the way it has to be as undramatically as possible is the best road forward.

aggie Sun 02-May-21 10:40:53

My eldest made so much fuss that the teacher had to lock the classroom door ! I didn’t know for years as we lived in a rural area and his Dad had to take him in the car and I wasn’t told till one of his classmates was reminiscing, I felt so bad , I think that drawing hearts is a lovely idea

sazz1 Sun 02-May-21 10:42:57

My DGD hated nursery after the first few days and was exactly the same until she started school. Previously at a child minder who she loved going to was fine there.
At school She was fine after the first week and loves it now
Your DGD will settle in time

grannybuy Sun 02-May-21 10:55:21

One of my DGD's was like this when she was about three and a half. It had been going on for a few weeks, and was stressful for her and DD. She was with me one day a week, which she was happy with. I took advantage of her love of role play. This was often centred round nursery. My role varied between being a pupil, parent or the teacher, directed by 'herself'! One particular day I suggested that she was mummy and was taking me to nursery. When we ' got to the door ', I started to behave as she did, clinging and crying, finally getting down on the floor, crying. She was actually quite shocked. I then suggested we did it again, differently. The second time, I gave her a quick hug, then said, " Mummy, go home and have a cup of tea, then come back for me." It actually worked, amazingly. Worth a try.

trisher Sun 02-May-21 10:56:57

She's had a bit of an odd year, and it's actually been a quarter of her life. She's finding it hard to seperate, some children do. Lots of good ideas about things to give her to help. I do think the nursery should lend a hand as well, she should have a named key worker, I would ask them to be sure that this is the person she is handed over to every time. At my GCs nursery we were also allowed to go into the nursery to drop off, when one of them had problems we found that going in and settling them down with group of friends and an activity before we left helped them settle. Could you do this?
I do hope your DD isn't worrying too much. I had to seperate crying children from their parents mny times and the child really did settle down whereas I expect the parents worried all day. That can also come across to the child and increase anxiety. The child knows the mother is worried, and thinks its to do with the school, not with her, so she becomes more worried.
Good luck I'm sure she will settle

Yellowmellow Sun 02-May-21 11:05:35

My grandson now 18 was the same. Tge nursery and then infant school let him take a very small item and a comfort piece of material in with him. He still has the material butmobviously doesn't use it anymoregrin

NannyG123 Sun 02-May-21 11:06:03

My daughter drew a heart on gs and her hand. That seemed to help. As a childminder. I had a few Children like that. And soon as parent went they stopped. I think sometimes it's just to get parents attention. But I always got the child involved in doing something quickly.

Ilovedragonflies Sun 02-May-21 11:07:27

I have no further advice to give apart from what has already been suggested, but thought you may like to hear what happened to us: My youngest went in very happily on her first day in 2005. On the second day she went in less happily but okay, so I left. I was walking down the road to the car to go home when I heard her little voice screaming 'Muuuuummy!' She'd gone out of the second, open, classroom door, passed the teachers and all the other parents milling around in the playground, out of the gates and across a road filled with cars coming and going without being challenged once! She was in a dreadful state by the time I heard her (and I thank God even now that I hadn't already driven off.) I calmed her down, which took a while, and took her straight back. She hadn't even been missed!
The school altered the entire Reception morning intake area immediately because it wasn't secure, as proven by my quietly determined child!

NotSpaghetti Sun 02-May-21 11:09:33

She is fine once she goes in

If this is true, can mum stay a while?

Or maybe it's as someone else said, it's the initial noise that exacerbates the problem and she needs mum to simply get her through the door and to a quieter place?