please help me!! I have a 4 yr old daughter that won't leave my side. If she is left in a room alone she comes in saying she needs someone to be with her because she is lonely. She won't sleep alone, she wont go potty by herself, she wont put on her pjs by herself. my husband says i've coddled her to much- how do i get her to do these things by herself without her thinking that i'm all the sudden mean or dont care?


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My fifth child wanted to be with me all the time. I was glad at the time, because my older 4 were rambunctious, and it made it easier that the fifth was a mummy's girl. Also my friend's only child wouldn't do anything by himself when he was 4. Both children grew out of it, and are now very confident young people - I think we can expect too much of children - she is only 4, and if you guard her now, and give her lots of security, she will leave your side when she's ready. My husband and I are constantly amazed at how our little girl's confidence has grown over the last few years.

Ariana - posted on 12/31/2012




I would go on one behavior at a time. If you suddenly want her to play by herself, sleep, dress, go potty etc all at the same time she's going to end up freaking out. So start with one you find most important. To me it would be the potty (since that's a life skill), but actually the pj's first.

For pj's just assist her to get it on by herself. So be there with her and have you hold one side of the pants, and her the other, and have her help get her feet in and the pj's on, have her pull the top on her head and then you help and her pull her arms through etc. Just slowly get her doing more and more of it with your assistance (so she still has you there 'helping' her). Slowly get it to the point where she's doing it on her own. If she refuses to do it tell her you're going to wait until she is ready and if it's bedtime she'll go to bed in what she's wearing. I would also tell her that if she does that you are going to have to start her bedtime routine half an hour earlier tomorrow so she'll have more time to get her pj's on. Don't fight about it if she refuses to help just wait it out, or leave her in her room and tell her when she's ready you'll come help her, and then put her to bed in whatever she has on when it's her bedtime. If she's supposed to do it on her own I would do the same thing, start her bedtime routine half an hour earlier and tell her she needs to go to her room and cannot come out until she's ready to get her pj's on. Only once they're on can she come out and read books or w/e it is you do before bedtime. Either she'll sit in her room by herself for half an hour or she'll get her pj's on. If not she'll go to bed in her clothes.

I would tell her she's a big 4 year old girl now and 4 year old girls use the potty on their own, not like little 3 year old girls. Start off small (not sure what you do for her). She should know how to wipe and flush and wash her hands and all that, if she doesn't get her to do it on her own with you there. After that stand in the doorway either with the door open if she wants or partially closed, so she can see you are with her but she's doing it on her own. After a week tell her you'll stand with the door closed outside of the washroom. After doing that for a while the next time she says she has to go say ohh ok I'll be with you in 1 second, you start going up there! Have her go up by herself and then follow and stand outside the door so she knows you showed up. Try to do this a few times sporatically and then tell her she's becoming such a big girl now that she can use the washroom all by herself! Then send her by herself, if she refuses to go just say you're a big girl and sometimes mommy is busy and can't go with you. If she goes praise her profusely right afterwards, if she doesn't and pees her pants don't make a big fuss over it, simply have her get changed herself and teach her how to clean it up by herself. If she refuses to do that leave her in it. I know that sounds terrible but the child is using these things to keep you by her side and to keep from having to do anything. It'll only take a few times before she's going to want to get out of stinky clothes.

Sleeping alone can't really be a gradual thing. I mean I would tell her she's older now and is going to sleep on her own (is she in your bed or hers?) and a few days before you plan on having her in her own bed by herself talk to her about it and say how she's going to be sleeping in her own room. If she argues or says no don't argue back, simply remind her every night for a couple of nights. You could ween by having her fall asleep with you and then bringing her to her own bed but it's probably better to just put her in her own bed and tell her goodnight. If she leaves her room bring her back, without talking with her except the first time to say it's time to go to bed, and after that don't speak with her. Bring her back over and over until she gets it (which could take a while since she's been allowed to do this for however long). You may want to have your husband be the one bringing her in and out if you feel you can't not talk to her or that you'll cave. Eventually though you'll have to do it to show her she needs to sleep on her own whether it's you or daddy putting her to bed.

Your daughter will know you love and care for her, but there is nothing you can do from keeping her from thinking you are just being 'mean' to her. The best you can do is explain how she's a big girl, not a little toddler anymore. If you do that though try to give her 'big girl' privilages she didn't have before, so you can tell her that when you're 4 you have to learn to do things on your own but you also GET to do things you didn't before.

Either way you should put your foot down now while she's still 4. It's understandable how this happens though, everyone tends to baby the youngest, and the youngest probably loves it. That doesn't mean you should continue with this though, especially if it's keeping her from learning life skills like using the bathroom on her own or getting dressed.

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