My elder daughter is very sensitive, she is a really well behaved child and everyone absolutely loves her at mums and toddlers groups. She is brilliant with helping with little things and talking to people. My problem is she is too sensitive; she is scared about anything and everything. When I am downstairs she won't go upstairs to go to the toilet. When we are upstairs she won't go alone downstairs to fetch anything. She wants me or her dad to accompany her everywhere; otherwise she gets scared to go anywhere alone. She is scared of any kind of noises, cow mooing, lightening. We went to get the car washed and she wouldn't stop crying, wanted to go back home. I am concerned if this is normal for her stage and if there is anything that I can do to help her get over these fears. She feels all the time that there is someone else around and someone might come to her.
Her behaviour is not too unusual and you will probably see an improvement after she has attended nursery for some time. However in the meantime it is a question of building her confidence and coping skills in various situations. Below are some suggestions for you to consider incorporating in to her daily routines:
- Introduce a job chart where she receives a star for completing a little household chore (this is then 'her job')
- Agree a weekly reward for completion of her jobs
- Always address her by name to build her sense of identity
- Find her talent and build on it (eg, does she dance or enjoy bicycle riding?)
- Note any new achievements and encourage repetition of them
- Take her to play with friends or invite friends over
- Have time set aside to play games she wants
Often the way we as parents respond to children has a huge impact on their behaviour and it is important that you always do what you say and return home or complete your own chores when you say you will. Expect her to be confident, smile, be positive and try not to feed in to her fears by (for example) returning home when she cries at the car wash. A little distraction can work wonders with this age group and you could carry a specific toy, game or musical tape for these times.
When she goes to nursery, you might find she becomes upset and if this happens, remain cheerful so she sees you are not distressed and she will settle once in the nursery with her friends.