I have recently started watching a three year old girl and her 10 month old brother. The baby is easy to please with no issues, but the little girl has odd tendencies that I have never seen in a child before and was wondering if anyone had any ideas of what it could possibly be caused from.
She copies everything. This goes beyond a child learning things and copying an adult or repeating words or phrases. She copies movements I make, everything I say, but does it so well I am amazed. Sometimes it is seriously like watching myself in a mirror, except it is a three year old on the other side. For example, today when I was on the phone, she followed me with her hand to her head, as if she was also on the phone, repeated everything I said word for word, made every single hand movement, foot step, I mean I know this sounds silly, but I dont think I could copy someone that well if I tried my hardest. These little copy phases have seriously gone on for sometimes an hour at a time.
She is also very repetative. She will for example say to me, Hi Sue, and I will tell her Hi back, then 15 seconds later she will say the same thing as if she had never said it before. These phases usually go on for at least 15 times in a row or more. Or she will ask me the same question over and over again.
She has separation anxiety when her father drops her off, which is understandable, but she gets so upset and cries so uncontrollably that her face even appears to break out in red splotches. She will then be fine for a few hours and will suddenly think of him and completely have another meltdown. I calmly talk to her and can get her to eventually calm down. Also, loud noises seem to startle her into her crying phases.
But I guess the biggest question is the copying. I feel so silly even asking about this because I know kids copy to learn, but I have never seen a child go to this extent. She would rather copy me than even sit and play with her toys or her brother, or watch cartoons or anything. Infact, the only time she plays with a toy is when she is using it to copy something I am doing. She holds her doll only when I am holding her baby brother and copies to her doll everything I do to the baby. I have tried to play with her and her doll together during one of her brothers naps, and she looks at me as if I have lost my mind. She isnt interested in coloring, playing games with me, playing with things outside, such as balls or outside sand toys, nothing. The only thing I have gotten her to do with me is sing a song such as itsy bitsy spider, and I think that is just so she can copy my arm movements and words. She doesnt sing with me- she does it a millisecond after me. If it doesnt involve copying me or being repetitive, she doesnt seem interested. I just want to have some light shed on what it could possibly be and how I am supposed to deal with it. Even my six year old son has quietly whispered to me, mom, why does she keep doing that. She doesnt copy my son, I have never seen her copy her father, and she doesnt copy me in front of her dad. I am just astounded and amazed more than anything.......Any thoughts ?????
This happened once with our granddaughter when I took her to a fast-food restaurant. She repeated her words and actions again and again. She suffers from severe anxiety. I don't know - could this be the problem? You might try by removing any and all expectations from her - just ignoring her behaviour and being overly patient and nonchalant about the day, in general. Have you mentioned this to her parents? I also wonder about autistic tendencies, as well. Any other thoughts?
It sounds to me like she's craving your attention like crazy. You mentioned being on the phone. Kids are notorious for bothering their parents (or caregivers) when they're on the phone. They want attention and they're not getting it!
Copying to some extent is pretty normal for a three year old. That's how they learn. They will look up to you and want to be like you, hence the copying everything you were saying on the phone. Actually, it's a bit of a compliment even if it is annoying! Also, it's pretty normal for a three year old to copy a song or whatever you're trying to teach them because they don't have it memorized yet. I have a three year old boy and he is will do that.
She does sound a little anxious and insecure. You mentioned she gets very upset when her father leaves her. Try and be patient and loving towards her. Make sure you are spending qualtiy time with her and give her your attention. Let her know that she's important and that you like spending time with her. Make sure you are spending a little one on one time with her playing, maybe when her baby brother is sleeping.
I agree with the other poster. It's important to keep communication open with the parents and to discuss any concerns or thoughts with them. Be careful how you do it, though. You don't want to try and diagnose their daughter when you are not authorized to do so. Just talk to them and tell them the things you've noticed such as being anxious when her dad leaves and ask them if they have any ideas to make the transition any easier.
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