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separation anxiety in 8yr olds

how can we help a usually bright, happy 8yr old with bedtime only separation anxiety? She is sort of a homebody during the day, but it usually depends on who wants to take her somewhere. She isn't afraid of the dark. I'm her grandmother and I suffered the same pitiful way until I out grew it.    Kay
11 Responses
973741 tn?1342346373
Hi there.  Do you think she's had nightmares?  Some kids have very vivid dreams at that age and they stick with them.  I'd watch what she sees on television or movies.  Even in Disney movies, one of the parents usually dies (ever notice that?).  I'd keep that sort of thing always on the light side.  

My sons each went through periods where they were hard to put to bed.  I really handled it by a quick bed time routine, getting them nice and snug in bed and getting out of the room fast.  I didn't  linger and do tons of staying there and reassuring.  Because the more I stayed, the more they wanted me there.  They had their water, their night light, etc  A kiss goodnight and I would leave the room.

I also correlated good sleep with good day the next day.  I spoke about this often and my kids really got this message and now will try to go to sleep understanding that if they are tired the next day, they have less fun.

Last, I'm a huge fan of tiring them out.  If she is a home body, I'd get her doing more things.  Go to the park for a couple of hours, a day at an amusement park, go to the pool for her to swim for a couple of hours, get her on a soccer team or gymnastics, have kids over to play, etc.  This will help her feel tired and want to sleep.  

good luck
Avatar universal
I can tell you really are a "special mom", very loving and caring. She gets exercise playing with the neighborhood kids, but probably not enough to wear her out.  My daughter...her Mom...is pretty fit, and her Dad is in the Air Force, so he's very fit.  Im sure he would love helping her get more exercise.  I asked her about nightmares,but she could only remember one when she was very small, when she said a dark figure with lights coming out of it was standing near the closet door.  Pretty creepy but could have been anything, even someone coming in her room to check on her with the light from the hallway shining behind them.  Her parents have tried the quick night time routine to no avail.  She's been seeing a therapist who couldn't say what she thought caused it, but advised her parents to not let the situation get so frantic she was nearly hyperventilating before letting her sleep on the carpet next to their bed. Apparently, behavior modification and/or threatening behavior doesn't help SAD.  But, just like with me, the therapist assured her parents she would outgrow it. In the meantime, she may have to resort to prescription meds at bedtime, which is a last resort.  Thanks "Special Mom" for being there.     Kay
973741 tn?1342346373
Melatonin is something I know some parents use.  It's natural and our doc can tell you how to use it.  

Did you mean GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) or SAD (seasonal affective disorder)?  Does she show anxiety in other areas?

My own oldest son has anxiety.  He's 9 and it shows itself in different ways.  He's a perfectionist at school and elsewhere and will tear up things that don't look just right to him.  He can also be slow to finish his work being extremely meticulous and also needs lots of reassurance.  He has a vocal tic that is typically complex now (he says "ya) when he is nervous.  He'll say it a few times and it really happens when he is super excited about something or nervous.  He's aware of it himself which is interesting to see him trying to work through it.  

Anyway, anxiety can take many forms.  Perhaps she will outgrow it.  I do think, please forgive me for this, that some kids figure out how to have the comfort of being near mom and dad at night too.  And she may have found a way to do that.  ??  

Anyway, exercise is good for wearing one out as well as working through anxiety.  it releases the brains 'happy chemical.  For my own son, it regulates his whole nervous system and helps him handle all things better.  He spends a couple hours every day doing something physical.  

Lots of luck and thank you so much for the kind words.  They mean a lot.  You too sound very caring and I wish you and your family peace and blessings.  
757137 tn?1347200053
This is the problem of an only child. Until our second was born we kept the little one in our room. As the family grew we slept them two to a room, with none in our room past babyhood. Young children don't like to be alone in a room. It is natural.
Avatar universal
Hi!  Yes, I actually meant GAD!  My daughter called and said she'd bought kids homeopathic drops called "Calm" at the health food store and they,along with a little melatonin, actually helped last night.  I  don't know why I didn't think of that before, because when I get a little stressed, I take drops by Newton Homeopathics for anxiety and/nervousness and they are GREAT.  They don't interfere with anyother OTC or Rx.  The six drops are held on the dry surface of the tongue for 10-15 mins. or until absorbed. No side effects.  The dosage is the same no matter the weight and can even be given (with adjusted dosage) to animals.  One of my best friends is an Air Force doctor stationed here at Barksdale AFB, who is studying for board exams...very stressful exams. She thinks these drops are awsome.  Do you think maybe your son could benefit from them? Another good friend in New Orleans is a Naturopathic doctor and health food store owner.  She was the person who suggested the drops.  They just sort of level you out, as my AF friend said.  If you decide to try them, please let me know how the drops did/didn't work for him.  I pray they do.  No one likes to see their child or someone else's child struggle.
  By the way,about my granddaughter,knowing how a kid's mind works, I don't doubt there's a bit of manipulation going on.  That's sort of a natural reaction for kids under stress, I think. She has a real "issue", but when things start to escalate, she not above trying to get what she sees as her only solution.
  My prayers to you and your's, as well.    Kay
Avatar universal
Hi!  Thanks for your reply!  My kids are trying to have another baby.  My granddaughter has already claimed it, crib and all, for her room!
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