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Suddenly shy....Need advice please

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  • Suddenly shy....Need advice please

    My DS is 26 months old and has always been a very agreeable little boy. He sleeps well, 11 hours at night and most often 2 sleeps per day. He's playful, talks continually, loves to play and sing and can be reasoned with it he ever has a tanty. We are very lucky.

    Just in the past few weeks though he has become very clingy. If we go somewhere he clings to me and it takes him quite a while to get comfortable with people, even those that he has spent time with before. When new people are over he is very quiet and sulky whereas he used to be jumping around so everyone would look at him.

    Is this a common phase at this age or could something else be triggering it?

    He goes to daycare for 3 days per week - generally about 9/10 to 2/3 and has recently been moved up to the toddler room with all of his friends (they all moved at the same time). They have new carers though who he likes and his old carers come upstairs and visit him every day. He doesn't want me to leave him there so I ease him into it, after a few minutes he is fine - in the afternoon, he doesn't want to come home because he has had so much fun! That's the only other thing that I can think may be triggering it though..

    Please help!! I hate to see him not feeling confident when he always has in the past...
    Last edited by rynosmum; 20-08-2006, 09:20.

  • #2
    Oh RM! Poor lad.

    Sadly I have no advice, but I am great at pity posts, and fantastic at hugs, so here you go and here's one for your beautiful little boy too


    • #3
      The hugs are great Bron - thank you. He seems to be getting quite a few of those lately...

      A pity reply is better than no reply!


      • #4
        Hi RM

        It is probably just a phase thing, my 4yo dd just went through it when her kindy teacher recently changed. She was quite clingy and didn't want me to leave but after a couple of weeks she is fine now and loves the new teacher too. So hopefully that is all it is.

        The other thing that might be causing it is teeth, I know when the molars started coming through mine went through a clingy phase too.

        I am sure he will be fine shortly


        • #5
          More than likely it is just a phase

          He is clinging to you because he is seeking reassurance because he feels he is in an unfamiliar place. He may have been there before, but it still isnt as comforting as being in his home environment with his primary caregiver (you) if you know what i mean?

          So to me it sounds like separation anxiety, which usually peaks around 10 to 18 months of age, but may not dimish until late in the second year of the child's life.

          If he has been through the separation anxiety phase and now it is resurfacing, it is usually because of the child feeling stressed. Perhaps they have been ill or left in a new care situation with carers they are unfamiliar with.

          I wouldnt be too concerned, all these stages are just a part of the child developing their sense of trust and belonging with different people.

          I know i am still a bit shy when meeting new people and i usually stay next to or nearby the person in the group that i am most familiar with until i ease myself into the new situation.

          Talk to his personal carers, they should be able to give you a better understanding


          • #6
            Thanks Elf - it's gone on for about 3 weeks now but DH has been away quite a bit as well so that is probably adding to it (he is back today with no more travel for about 3 months )

            Thanks so much for those links Chrissy! It sounds like exactly the case and they have given me a few ideas for ways to deal with it a little better (and a link to a 'sharing' page which is very timely

            SamanthaJane, thank you too - you are probably right. I have spoken to his daycare ladies and one wants me to stretch out the goodbye (stopping for a story etc) and the other says I should just go. I think we all need to have an agreed plan so I'll talk to them on Tuesday.

            He's just so different at home too. We went to see a friend in hospital and one of DS's little friends was there too. It took about 5-6 minutes for me to get him to even look at anyone, he was just clinging tightly to me (I ended up sitting on the hospital floor with him while he adjusted). Then they had an absolute ball running around and jumping on the bed


            • #7
              Originally posted by rynosmum View Post
              SamanthaJane, thank you too - you are probably right. I have spoken to his daycare ladies and one wants me to stretch out the goodbye (stopping for a story etc) and the other says I should just go. I think we all need to have an agreed plan so I'll talk to them on Tuesday
              I'm with the ones who say to stretch out the goodbye

              If he has a favourite activity at the daycare, go and join in with him for a bit until he settles in. He will feel much more secure and wont feel as though you have just 'snuck away'.

              All the best!


              • #8
                Some kids seem to have issues with change a little bit more than others.
                With your hubby being away & then his teachers changing its all probably been a bit too much for him poor thing
                My nephew has this problem even now at 10yrs of age especially as my sister didnt do anything to help the issue instead he now has this fear everyone will leave him
                My dad died, then our grandfather, my eldest sister went back overseas to live & my mum & i went to visit her then as soon as we got back he moved with my other sister down ( his mum ) to Melbourne so it was like he lost everyone this was all within a 12mth period so it really affected him.
                So i would say with all the great love etc your giving him your lo will certainly have a lot of reassurance etc as long as you help him through each transition im sure he will come out of it a happy healthy well adjusted little man
                Good luck


                • #9
                  I wish I could say that this phase passes quickly, but for us it has been several months. She was doing really well at daycare but then got very clingy after about a week's absence, and now she clings to me all the time. To the point that she wouldn't walk anywhere but insisted on being carried and I had to spoon feed her half the time.

                  She's showing some improvement now. We still have problems with the daycare drop off (more below on that) but I'm encouraging her independence from me in other small ways whenever I can. Her carers are helping her to be more social with the other kids too.

                  For the daycare drop off I tend to stay with her for around 5 minutes. What works best for us is either I get her involved in an activity, or if I stay but don't actually interact with her. Often another child will come up and start chatting to me, so I'll get down for a chat or play with another kid. Chloe clings to me, but I don't really pay her much attention after an initial invitation to join me and the other child. After a few minutes of not getting attention she usually is happy to see me go. Some other parents have a routine of waving out the window or from the verandah, or having their toddler open the door for them.

                  I hope Ryan gets through this quickly, and sending you lots of patience, lol.


                  • #10
                    Coops went through something similiar RM ,when he was around 2 1/2, maybe a bit younger, he was suddenly very clingy and constantly asking 'You my mummy' and telling other kids in the shop 'My mummy, not your mummy!' Someone pointed out to me that this is around the age they start to see you as a seperate person, and recognise their own individuality, up until that point they kind of see you and them as one, and the realisation can scare them, so they are constantly seeking reassurance. They also start to become aware of the fact that you can get hurt and possibly even leave them.
                    Maybe he is going through something like that?


                    • #11
                      I also think it would be just a phase (might take quite sometime to get over though). I guess I would tend to ignore the shy behaviour and by that I don't mean to insist they don't hide behind your skirts or refuse to pick them up - just to not make a big deal about it when / if they do.

                      I heard somewhere that you never want to "label" your child as shy by saying "oh, he's so shy" or "isn't he shy?" as this can reinforce the behaviour. They might think it something they're supposed to do.




                      • #12
                        Thanks girls - it's so nice to know that we're not the only ones going through this.

                        You've all given me some ideas on how to at least deal with it and to not beat myself up over it. I'll never deny him a cuddle but it's just hard seeing him like this so I don't want to encourage the behaviour iykwim.

                        We'll work at making his world just that little bit more stable and supporting him through this tough time. Then we get to move him to a bed ! One step at a time....


                        • #13
                          Rm - my son is now 4 years old and I've found that from time to time he is quieter/shyer than others.

                          I tend to think it is all part of them figuring out their place in the world and their safe zones.

                          When DS has been shy, I generally squat down beside him and encourage him to greet someone in a normal voice and look them in the face. I don't make a big deal of it or embarrass him but I do let him know that this is how we greet people and be friendly.

                          I am also conscious that a natural reserve can be a protective mechanism and I don't like to strip that from kids. So, if he is in a safe place (ie alongside myself or his Dad) then I encourage open friendly behaviour.

                          I never label him as shy (I agree with MarthaM - to Martha), and I don't reinforce that shyness is cute or normal.

                          I've found that with me down at his level he has normally greeted the person in the way I've asked and I'm content to let his interaction go at that.

                          Don't worry about it. Just continue modelling what is good behaviour so far as your little family is concerned, and I think the rest will fall into place.

                          But we're all mothers - and there's always some new challenge to fret over. Aren't we all the same like that?