Home

Helping 3.5-year-old with some anxiety
1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Forum -> Parenting our children -> Toddlers


View latest: 24h 48h 72h


amother




OP
 

Post  Mon, Sep 14 2020, 10:09 am
My 3.5-year-old son is very bright, highly verbal, and funny. Overall, he's a happy child and makes everyone laugh constantly.

The thing is that he has some anxiety. It doesn't surprise me, since I have anxiety (which I finally got under control and continue to work on).

For example, he's terrified of the slides at the park. Not only will he refuse to go down, but when he climbs up to get there, he holds on with both hands and goes extremely slowly. We have tried to expose him, go up with him the first couple of times, etc. No dice.

Also, he seems to have a bit of social anxiety with the kids his age. He told me that he doesn't play with the other kids and wants to play by himself. (He offered this of his own accord.) I know that it's only the second week of nursery, but it worries me a little.

I know that he is one of the oldest in his group and very advanced for his age, which makes me wonder if he finds the kids more babyish. He is my oldest (with one younger sibling) and has spent a lot of time around adults, exacerbated by the months he spent at home during the lockdown.

How do I help him? I don't think play therapy is warranted just yet. Someone mentioned doing a fears scrapbook - anyone know anything about how to do that? Any other ideas?
Back to top

dragoneye126




 
 
 
 

Post  Mon, Sep 14 2020, 1:26 pm
I have a 4.5 year old daughter with anxiety. She sounds similar to your DC- she is very mature and verbal, she does not like heights (specifically slides at the playground), and though she can socialize perfectly well with other children, she prefers to play by herself. She also experiences anxiety upon leaving the house, even to go somewhere fun like the ice cream store or her grandparents' house.

I started her in play therapy a few months ago because the pandemic situation made her anxiety worse. It has done wonders for her. She has learned to understand her feelings and how to cope with them in a more effective way. She is generally more confident at the playground, playing with other children, and in leaving the house. She is a happier child now because, as she says, she is less confused in her feelings. I was hesitant to start my daughter in therapy at such a young age, but now I wish that I had done it sooner. It has really made that much of a difference in such a short time, and I am confident that it was the best parenting decision I have ever made.

I suggest speaking to a therapist (either your own, if you have one for your anxiety, or a play therapist) to see if your son is really too young. If he is too young for formal therapy, then they will have ideas about how to address his anxiety for now.

I'm happy to discuss this further with you if you'd like to PM me. B'hatzlacha!
Back to top

amother




OP
 

Post  Mon, Sep 14 2020, 2:59 pm
dragoneye126 wrote:
I have a 4.5 year old daughter with anxiety. She sounds similar to your DC- she is very mature and verbal, she does not like heights (specifically slides at the playground), and though she can socialize perfectly well with other children, she prefers to play by herself. She also experiences anxiety upon leaving the house, even to go somewhere fun like the ice cream store or her grandparents' house.


He doesn't have anxiety about leaving the house at all. He adjusted very well to his nursery in that he never cries when my husband drops him off, and he says he had a good day whenever I ask. He got over the separation anxiety this past summer in day camp.

He also told me today that he did play with other kids... so it could be that it was just because he didn't know them yet?

Quote:
I started her in play therapy a few months ago because the pandemic situation made her anxiety worse. It has done wonders for her. She has learned to understand her feelings and how to cope with them in a more effective way. She is generally more confident at the playground, playing with other children, and in leaving the house. She is a happier child now because, as she says, she is less confused in her feelings. I was hesitant to start my daughter in therapy at such a young age, but now I wish that I had done it sooner. It has really made that much of a difference in such a short time, and I am confident that it was the best parenting decision I have ever made.


My son didn't have that much anxiety about the pandemic. At the beginning, he had some, but we explained it to him in his own terms. Since we adjusted better, he seems to have settled down, too.

Quote:
I suggest speaking to a therapist (either your own, if you have one for your anxiety, or a play therapist) to see if your son is really too young. If he is too young for formal therapy, then they will have ideas about how to address his anxiety for now.

I'm happy to discuss this further with you if you'd like to PM me. B'hatzlacha!


I am going to speak to my own therapist about it, but it kind of seems like overkill at this point... hm.
Back to top

amother




Sapphire
 

Post  Mon, Sep 14 2020, 3:18 pm
We had this with untreated chronic strep. It was brain inflammation. Caused sensory and vestibular dysfunction, excessive fear and social anxiety. We saw huge improvements when we started treating the strep and inflammation.
Back to top

amother




OP
 

Post  Mon, Sep 14 2020, 4:34 pm
amother [ Sapphire ] wrote:
We had this with untreated chronic strep. It was brain inflammation. Caused sensory and vestibular dysfunction, excessive fear and social anxiety. We saw huge improvements when we started treating the strep and inflammation.


He doesn't have sensory or vestibular dysfunction or excessive fear/social anxiety. He has a modicum of fear and social anxiety.
Back to top

mha3484




 
 
 
 

Post  Mon, Sep 14 2020, 4:50 pm
You are 100% describing my child who is turning six after sukkos. He was very shy as a toddler and preschooler. My mother was convinced he needed speech therapy for ages but he really just needs a lot of time to warm up to people. His morah in 3 yo playgroup is my good friend so she knew that he really was able to talk and had a lot to say but the assistant really didnt think he could speak in the beginning of the year. His birthday is within the month of the school deadline so I either had to make him the oldest or the absolute youngest in the class. I chose the oldest and it was the best thing I ever did for him. He started pre1a this year and is really k'ah doing well. He is also very strong willed which I think comes from anxiety as well.

With an insane amount of patience and lip biting I have learned to really not pressure him. He has outgrown so many fears over the past few years. This child who at one point wished that dogs didnt exist on the planet now begs for one. Other fears like the slide have gone away and a new one popped up at camp this summer (the swimming pool) but overall hes much less fearful as the years go by. He is still very strong willed which I think also comes from anxiety but we manage it for the most part.

For me books like no drama discipline, the whole brain child and the explosive child have really helped me to parent him.
.
Back to top

Just One




 
 
 
 

Post  Mon, Sep 14 2020, 7:18 pm
Sounds like my 5 year old son. For us, me learning how to handle his anxiety is what helped it ease up. Just being present, validating and accepting and normalizing his fears did wonders.
Back to top

amother




OP
 

Post  Mon, Sep 14 2020, 7:26 pm
mha3484 wrote:
You are 100% describing my child who is turning six after sukkos. He was very shy as a toddler and preschooler. My mother was convinced he needed speech therapy for ages but he really just needs a lot of time to warm up to people. His morah in 3 yo playgroup is my good friend so she knew that he really was able to talk and had a lot to say but the assistant really didnt think he could speak in the beginning of the year. His birthday is within the month of the school deadline so I either had to make him the oldest or the absolute youngest in the class. I chose the oldest and it was the best thing I ever did for him. He started pre1a this year and is really k'ah doing well. He is also very strong willed which I think comes from anxiety as well.

With an insane amount of patience and lip biting I have learned to really not pressure him. He has outgrown so many fears over the past few years. This child who at one point wished that dogs didnt exist on the planet now begs for one. Other fears like the slide have gone away and a new one popped up at camp this summer (the swimming pool) but overall hes much less fearful as the years go by. He is still very strong willed which I think also comes from anxiety but we manage it for the most part.

For me books like no drama discipline, the whole brain child and the explosive child have really helped me to parent him.
.


What's funny is that he's really not shy at all. The morahs crack up from him because he talks their ears off and sounds like a 5-year-old. I see him talking to the adults. He told me today that he played with some kids, so maybe my worries are unfounded. I'm going to follow up with his morah about it.

His birthday is at the end of February, but he seems to be well ahead of the rest of his class in terms of his speech and thought processes. I myself skipped a grade because I was more mature than my classmates (my birthday is at the beginning of the year), and it worked wonders for me. I'm wondering if he might be better off with older kids.
Back to top

amother




OP
 

Post  Mon, Sep 14 2020, 7:27 pm
Just One wrote:
Sounds like my 5 year old son. For us, me learning how to handle his anxiety is what helped it ease up. Just being present, validating and accepting and normalizing his fears did wonders.


I was thinking more along these lines.

How did you learn to do these things with him? I try, but I'm kind of running blind based on what I know about these concepts vs. specific applications as a parent.

For example, what's something you would do if your son was afraid of the slide at the park?
Back to top

Just One




 
 
 
 

Post  Mon, Sep 14 2020, 7:53 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
I was thinking more along these lines.

How did you learn to do these things with him? I try, but I'm kind of running blind based on what I know about these concepts vs. specific applications as a parent.

For example, what's something you would do if your son was afraid of the slide at the park?

Our conversation would go something like this
Son: I don't want to go on the slide. I'm scared.
Mom: you're scared of the slide. Hmm... What do you find scary about the slide?
Son: it's too high. I'm afraid I'll fall
Mom: Yeah. It is high. That's ok. Many kids are afraid of heights.
Is there anything we can do to help you feel safe enough to go on the slide?
Then we strategize.

Usually the conversation itself is enough and he figures it out himself. There's no kid happier than he is when he conquers a fear!

To contrast, this is the kind of conversation that drives his anxiety up:
Son: I don't want to go on the slide. I'm scared.
Mom: you're scared of the slide? But why? It's so much fun!
Son: it's too high. I'm gonna fall!
Mom: don't worry! Look all the kids your age are going on the slide and they're all fine.
You get the picture....
Back to top

Just One




 
 
 
 

Post  Mon, Sep 14 2020, 7:58 pm
Oftentimes when a child is anxious parents are desperate to reassure them and make them realize that their fears are not something they need to take seriously.
Counterintuitively, it's accepting the fear, letting the child feel it, making the child feel normal for having the fear that helps them deal with it
Back to top

FranticFrummie




 
 
 
 

Post  Mon, Sep 14 2020, 8:29 pm
OP, my DD has had severe anxiety all her life. To the point where we went to parenting classes offered by the local hospital to learn how to deal with it, and she went to group to find out that she wasn't the only kid in the world who felt that way.

I'm not finding anything in any of your posts to indicate that your son has anxiety. I find that 3 year olds have a certain amount of reasonable caution. They are not babies, and they are not big kids, and their world is very big, with a lot of unknowns. I'd be worried if your child wasn't a bit cautious!

What you need to do, is not protect him from his fears, but to empathize, and model confident behavior. Show him by your actions that you believe he can do it, and that you have every faith in his abilities. The more you coddle, the more he will be convinced that the world is indeed a terrifying place.

Please think very hard, and see if you are projecting any of your anxiety onto him. I'm not saying you are. I don't know you like that. Just saying, if you think this might be the case, it would be good for you to work it out in therapy.

There is nothing wrong with preferring to play alone. I was like that right up until junior high school, and now I love making new friends and doing social activities. Starting school can be overwhelming, and if he wants to be alone, that probably means that he's excellent at self regulating his emotions. It's a really good skill to have.

There is also nothing wrong with being nervous of the slide at your son's age. Why does he davka NEED to go on the slide? Playgrounds are for fun, so let him do what he thinks is fun. It's not like he's getting graded on his slide skills, and I doubt it will impact his college admission.

If he really wants to go on the slide, and then is frustrated because he freezes up at the top, you can go over to the slide and hold his hands while he goes down. "Wheeeeee!" "Yay, you did it!" Then try it with holding only one hand. Then ask him if he's ready to do it with no hands. Make a really big happy deal out of it every time he slides down, and pretty soon he won't want his mommy around anymore. Wink

It really frustrates me when I see moms doing one of two things at the park: Being obsessed with their phones, or following their kids around with a constant stream of "Be careful! Don't fall! Don't get hurt! Watch where your're going! You don't want to go on that, it's too dangerous!" No wonder kids just want to sit in the sand.

Again, I'm not saying that you are either type of these moms, but it's just a major pet peeve of mine.

(Also, some day I will have a hamster. He will be named Major Peeve, and he will be my pet. LOL )
Back to top

amother




OP
 

Post  Mon, Sep 14 2020, 9:34 pm
Just One wrote:
Oftentimes when a child is anxious parents are desperate to reassure them and make them realize that their fears are not something they need to take seriously.
Counterintuitively, it's accepting the fear, letting the child feel it, making the child feel normal for having the fear that helps them deal with it


Yeah, I've tried to validate his fear as much as possible.
Back to top

amother




OP
 

Post  Mon, Sep 14 2020, 9:38 pm
FranticFrummie wrote:
OP, my DD has had severe anxiety all her life. To the point where we went to parenting classes offered by the local hospital to learn how to deal with it, and she went to group to find out that she wasn't the only kid in the world who felt that way.

I'm not finding anything in any of your posts to indicate that your son has anxiety. I find that 3 year olds have a certain amount of reasonable caution. They are not babies, and they are not big kids, and their world is very big, with a lot of unknowns. I'd be worried if your child wasn't a bit cautious!

What you need to do, is not protect him from his fears, but to empathize, and model confident behavior. Show him by your actions that you believe he can do it, and that you have every faith in his abilities. The more you coddle, the more he will be convinced that the world is indeed a terrifying place.

Please think very hard, and see if you are projecting any of your anxiety onto him. I'm not saying you are. I don't know you like that. Just saying, if you think this might be the case, it would be good for you to work it out in therapy.

There is nothing wrong with preferring to play alone. I was like that right up until junior high school, and now I love making new friends and doing social activities. Starting school can be overwhelming, and if he wants to be alone, that probably means that he's excellent at self regulating his emotions. It's a really good skill to have.

There is also nothing wrong with being nervous of the slide at your son's age. Why does he davka NEED to go on the slide? Playgrounds are for fun, so let him do what he thinks is fun. It's not like he's getting graded on his slide skills, and I doubt it will impact his college admission.

If he really wants to go on the slide, and then is frustrated because he freezes up at the top, you can go over to the slide and hold his hands while he goes down. "Wheeeeee!" "Yay, you did it!" Then try it with holding only one hand. Then ask him if he's ready to do it with no hands. Make a really big happy deal out of it every time he slides down, and pretty soon he won't want his mommy around anymore. Wink

It really frustrates me when I see moms doing one of two things at the park: Being obsessed with their phones, or following their kids around with a constant stream of "Be careful! Don't fall! Don't get hurt! Watch where your're going! You don't want to go on that, it's too dangerous!" No wonder kids just want to sit in the sand.

Again, I'm not saying that you are either type of these moms, but it's just a major pet peeve of mine.

(Also, some day I will have a hamster. He will be named Major Peeve, and he will be my pet. LOL )


Thanks for this post. I discussed the concept with my therapist, and she agreed with your assessment that it doesn't sound like he has any major anxiety. I noted that I may very well be projecting somewhat, and we talked about that, as well.

You're right, he doesn't need to go down the slide. Smile

You're also right that it's early in the year and there's an adjustment period going on. He definitely seems to be adjusting fine to being in a new environment. He's happy to go to nursery every day and seems glad to tell me about his day when he comes home.

I think this may be where I'm projecting a lot - I had a hard time socially, and I don't want to see the same thing happen to him.
Back to top

amother




OP
 

Post  Tue, Sep 15 2020, 5:47 pm
I asked the morah today and she said that he does play with the other kids.

So maybe I'm just an overly anxious mom with her oldest child. Smile
Back to top

amother




Denim
 

Post  Wed, Sep 16 2020, 1:06 am
Reminds me of my 4 year old son.
We are getting him evaluated for ASD and the neurologist thinks it might be anxiety.
Back to top

amother




OP
 

Post  Wed, Sep 16 2020, 11:04 am
amother [ Denim ] wrote:
Reminds me of my 4 year old son.
We are getting him evaluated for ASD and the neurologist thinks it might be anxiety.


He has zero signs of ASD. Very friendly kid in general. And, B'H, the morah told me that he plays with the other kids.
Back to top

Rappel




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Sep 16 2020, 11:08 am
FranticFrummie wrote:


I'm not finding anything in any of your posts to indicate that your son has anxiety. I find that 3 year olds have a certain amount of reasonable caution. They are not babies, and they are not big kids, and their world is very big, with a lot of unknowns. I'd be worried if your child wasn't a bit cautious!


Agreed. He sounds eminently normal. Is it possible you're projecting your own concerns onto him, OP?
Back to top

Rappel




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Sep 16 2020, 11:10 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
I asked the morah today and she said that he does play with the other kids.

So maybe I'm just an overly anxious mom with her oldest child. Smile


That also sounds very normal. Smile You'll learn to step back and trust him to just be him. Good for you for communicating with the Morah, and enjoy your little squish!
Back to top

amother




OP
 

Post  Wed, Sep 16 2020, 11:22 am
Rappel wrote:
That also sounds very normal. Smile You'll learn to step back and trust him to just be him. Good for you for communicating with the Morah, and enjoy your little squish!


I will! And you got his nickname - Mr. Squish!! Smile
Back to top
1, 2  Next Recent Topics

Page 1 of 2 View latest: 24h 48h 72h


Post new topic   Reply to topic    Forum -> Parenting our children -> Toddlers

Related Topics Replies Last Post
*Desperate* Which dr have u gone to to treat anxiety
by amother
18 Tue, Sep 08 2020, 8:41 pm View last post
Anxiety meds
by amother
0 Mon, Sep 07 2020, 1:00 pm View last post
Social anxiety
by amother
2 Mon, Aug 31 2020, 2:10 pm View last post
Social anxiety in son- how to resolve it?
by amother
14 Mon, Aug 31 2020, 12:46 pm View last post
Anxiety/functional or integrative psychiatrist
by amother
3 Wed, Aug 12 2020, 8:27 pm View last post