Needing suggestions with a 4 year old who has seperation anxiety REAL bad..

Tiffanyann - posted on 01/18/2011 ( 11 moms have responded )

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I have a 4 year old daughter who is extremely attached to me. She attends preschool and every morning when I drop her off to school, she screams and cries and just throws a fit, but when my husband takes her, she doesn't do it. Its to the point where her school is wanting to drop her from the preschool program...I am open to any suggestions that anyone has. I have tried everything.

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Cara - posted on 01/20/2011

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If she is doing this when you drop her off and not your hubby it is not seperation anxiety. Don't give her tons of hugs and kisses. Be matter-of-fact about where you are going when you get into the car and then talk about something else. One hug and one kiss at the door (only) with an I love you, have a great day and I'll see you at X o'clock. Walk away and do not turn around or allow her to re-engage you. As a former daycare provider I can tell you it works (it may get a bit worse before it gets better). The parents who prolong (and it is a natural nurturing thing) their leaving to talk to, and reinforce the child actually only make it worse.

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Annabelles - posted on 04/27/2012

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Maybe its best that your husband takes her so there wont be any problems, maybe if he starts taking her to school maybe it will work out much better so she wont be drop out of the preschool program.

Trish - posted on 04/26/2012

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My son has dealt with seperation anxiety pretty much his whole life. He is 4, but even as a baby he wanted to be held constantly, he wouldn't let us put him in a swing, play pen, bouncy seat, high chair or anything. He didn't want to go in his crib so we always had to make sure he was sleeping soundly before laying him down, but if he even rolled over in his sleep and realized we weren't there he'd cry immediately. Once he started crawling I never went to the bathroom by myself until recently, even now he will still come and stand in there talking to me. Even his dad or I even walked outside to the garage to get something out of the freezer he would stand at the sliding glass door where he could see us, but would scream until we came back and he wasn't even alone, the other one of us would be right there with him, but the idea of being away from either one of us was terrifying to him. He wouldn't sleep at night because he didn't want to be seperated from us.
He's funny about going to school as well. His school won't allow parents to take the kids back to the classroom-he attends a special ed preschool. They have teachers meet the kids who are either getting off the bus or being dropped off at the door. Parents are to say goodbye at the door and that's it. My son does ride the bus and that has helped actually because he was obsessed with buses from an early age. But, before bussing started I did have to bring him and that was hard. He would scream and cry the minute I said goodbye- but I learned a valuable lesson one day. He started crying and I immediately reacted by dropping to my knees and starting to hug him and reassure him- the teacher stepped up, took his hand and told me he'd be okay and led him away. I thought it was cruel at first until I realized that once she started leading him away he stopped crying. He was feeding off of my emotions.
Try toning down your hugs and kisses, be matter of fact with her see if she keeps doing it. The teachers should be more understanding of how she feels instead of talking about dropping her from the program.
But- you said something that should give you hope. She has friends, and she loves her teachers. If she was totally devestated at you leaving her there she wouldn't have made friends or bonded with her teachers. So, at some point she settles down and joins in the routine of the classroom.
Also, ask your husband what he does when he drops her off. Does he lead her to the classroom, say goodbye and walk away? If she's not crying when he drops her off perhaps it's because she knows he's not really going to react and lavish her with love and hugs the way mommy does. I'm not saying loving on her is wrong in any way- just wondering if that is the difference in why she doesn't freak out if he drops her off.
I know most of the school don't want kids to bring things to school, but maybe in this case the school would make an exception and see if they will for a time allow her to bring something special to school with her to help with the transition. My son isn't allowed to bring anything to school, but we have found when we take him to Church and leave him with the kids ministry, he takes his favorite stuffed Sonic the Hedgehog doll with him. It helps him by giving him confidence and a sense of having someone there with him in uncomfortable situations. Maybe the teacher would allow it for a time to see if it will help.
I just can't believe they want to kick her out- kids that age cry and throw fits on a regular basis. Is it the teacher telling you this, or does the principle agree with the idea to drop her from the program?

Dawn - posted on 04/25/2012

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My 3 year old just started doing this... He has been going to the same daycare since he has been 4 months old. I am currently 5 months pregnant with twin boys. But for the last couple of weeks he kicks and screams when my husband or myself tries to leave. It is breaking my heart to see him act like this... because he hasn't done it before. And with me being so hormonal I just want to cry. Anyone have any suggestions....

thanks!

Debra - posted on 01/21/2011

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omg im glad im not alone i have a 4yr old son who does the same he has been like it since xmas i have damaged 6 discs in my back and he says he wants to stay home and help me ....the nursrey have come up with the idea to basically just open nursery door and let him in and i run (hobble) out the door he crys screams throws a paddy till i leave the car park and then he is fine this is slowly coming to an end but i have had to be crule to be kind i also started saying if you go into nursery all week i will buy you a surprise its working slowly hope that helps its very heartwrenching but it works xx

Kelley - posted on 01/20/2011

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my daughter has this same problem, except she is not in pre-school yet. But at one point I tried taking her to daycare and she would cry and then be fine but come nap time she would throw up every day so I took her to the doctor and they told me she is having panic attakcs because she is suffering from anxiety about seperating from me. I am sure I will face this problem again when she starts pre-school in the summer. Good Luck!

Emily - posted on 01/20/2011

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My now-5yr old was like that last year starting pre-school. He'd scream and cry and cling on like I was leaving him forever, and actually would get violent, kicking walls and doors, and he's REALLY big and strong for his age (in 7-8yr old clothing now, lol) so it would leave marks. Of course, it's embarrassing and upsetting, and I had to try and figure out how to stop it. Part of it was just that it was a new experience, and that was how he reacted to it. We tried loads of things and in the end I got him a wrist-watch with his fav character on, and showed him where the hands would be when I came back to get him. It was only 3hours and he was 4, so he could count it easy and it was only a small number so it seemed to work, even though he couldn't tell the time, just seeing the hands move towards it helped. The other thing I did, was tell him that I felt the same. That I missed him too when we were apart, that I loved him just as much as he loved me, that it wasn't nice to have to be apart, (validated his feelings, if that makes any sense) but that it made me happy to see what a big boy he was turning into, going off to pre-school, and that I couldn't wait to hear about all the fun things he'd done with his friends that day.
It all worked eventually, as it became not so new anymore, and he learned it wasn't so bad after all! It was just his way of adjusting.
Best of luck with it all!

Candy - posted on 01/20/2011

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Mine got a locket with Dad and Mom's picture in it the first day of school. Maybe that is all she needs is to see you once in a while during the day. Also if I am going to be running alot of errands I put my cell number in their pockets and they feel better about that. Even though I know the office has the number it makes them feel grown up and they have some control over the situation. Of course their was a Mom last year who took her kid everyday to school and every day that child through a fit. It would have cried myself to sleep every day but she was brave and took her right in and kissed and hugged her and walked out with a brave face. I couldnt do it. Good luck !

Emily - posted on 01/18/2011

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Have you tried giving her a prize. Tell her that if she is a big girl for 2 days you will take her for ice cream or something... start with a low number and work from there.

Have you asked her what is bothering her and why she is scared?

Tiffanyann - posted on 01/18/2011

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I've tried that. I get her up and get her ready and when we are in the car I always tell her I will see her at the same time everyday and I always give her the hugs and kisses from the time we are out of the car and way way after signing her in and the sad thing, she has friends and loves her teachers, its just that she will not go near them if i have to leave..she screams and cries and throws herself and everything

Emily - posted on 01/18/2011

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The only thing I can suggest is to have a morning ritual. In the car let her know when you will see her and that you love her. Give hugs and kisses outside the classroom and see if a friend is near by to distract her. When you pick her up ask about her day and praise her for being a big girl.

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