Posted by: Nadesk | 2012/09/25


3.5 year old, traumatised by going to school

We''ve recently moved house, and since then my daughter has been crying, clinging to me (or her father), not wanting to go to school. She often needs to be physically removed from us in the mornings. She has not changed schools, and has been perfectly happy in the current school since she was 15months old. There have been no changes at the school, and no evidence of any kind of abuse at school either. When we ask her about the reasons she doesn''t want to go to school, she comes up with every reason she can think of - she''ll rattle them off - sore tummy, sore throat, tired, her friend fights with her etc etc. The only major change has been the house move, which makes me think it''s related and she''s feeling insecure.
How do we help her?

Expert's Reply



You have made the correct diagnosis of your daughter's problem.Children of this age are often greatly upset by moving homes. They may become extremely insecure as with your daughter. She is showing her insecurity through her obvious separation anxiety. She needs lots of reassurance at this time. Explain to her that she now has a new home, but nothing else has changed.Make sure that she knows that you will be waiting for her when she comes out of school.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

user comments


Posted by: Purple | 2012/09/26

A house move can be extremely traumatic for a young child - their secure base just goes.

She may be worried that while she is at school, there might be huge changes again, so she doesn''t want to leave your side.

Is it possible for you to take a day off work where you wake up a bit later, chat with her, explain in short sentences that you are now living in this house and not moving again for now. Then take her to school and spend the morning there with her playing and having fun, then go home at lunch time and spend the day at home.

The other option could be to go to ask her to draw pictures of what is upsetting her, and then ask her to talk you through things. Its just a way to get her to tell you whats wrong without giving suggestions to her.
You can also go into school earlier and spend twenty or thirty minutes playing wiht her and settling her before you leave.

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