Patented Q & A Database
I asked my 3 1/2 year old if he wanted to go to the gym with me this morning and play in the kids room, he answered yes; however, after getting there he refused to stay in the play area without me. When I told him he would have to stay or we would leave, he said he wanted to go. Should I have made him stay or let in and go home?
Separation anxiety is quite common among 3 year old children. I think the answer may lie in a phased approach. First, we should recognize that your son's response is one founded on legitimate issues from his point of view. And it may take a few trips before he is completely at ease staying in the kids' room without you there for an extended period. What will help make him comfortable is gaining a familiarity with the surroundings of the room, which may only occur after multiple trips.
I would suggest you stay in the beginning as he gets acclimated to the environment, and that you help him meet the other children. I assume this is a supervised area, so it is also important that he meet the adult(s) in the room. Hopefully, the gym has setup a very supportive, fun, safe environment where the children are encouraged to interact with each other.
Once you can see your child is having some fun, it's time to make your exit. Even if he doesn't react well right away, give him some time to settle in. Often, with a little support from the staff and other kids, he'll start playing soon after you leave. But even if this method works, you may still have to repeat the same steps on subsequent visits, though it will probably get a little easier each time.
Posted On 2007-02-17 09:42:25
The answer to your question is all based on these 2 principles:
* Set up for success.
* Make expectations clear.
Before you left the house, you should have told your child what you expected of him and what will happen if he does not follow through. Then your answer is easy.
1. He knows ahead of time what will happen and then makes his choice accordingly. That gives him responsibility. It also gives you clarity.
2. You need to make your consequence of what will happen something you will follow through on.
In this case, you put him too much in charge. First you asked his permission to go. Next, you are deciding whether or not to follow his demand. Since you put him in charge, you probably have to go.
In the future set up all of this ahead of time. then your actions will fall into place.
Sally Goldberg, Ph.D.
Author, constructive Parenting,
Posted On 2006-09-15 21:04:03
CLarity in conversations with our young children are important. It may be that he did not understand the question, and thought you would be with him. Going to the gym with me...means with me...the entire time freqently to young children. I would ask what he likes or doesn't like about the play room,and how he understood your earlier question. Respect his wishes to return home since it was unclear to him this time. The next time...I would be very clear and specific in where you will be physically, and where he will be physically:)
Posted On 2006-04-06 15:17:24