our 5 yr old grandchild cannot tolerate being alone when at home. Even if someone is in the next room, she has to go there. She needs someone to read and stay with her while she goes to sleep. Can't play in her room without someone there. When asked why, she says she's afraid

  • 2
    What is she afraid of? Have you asked?
    – Dariusz
    Apr 18 '16 at 13:22
  • We need more information? Can you describe the conversation you had with your grandchild? And/Or describe her behaviour in more detail? For example what if your both in the living room and shes playing, but you stand up and walk to the bathroom, what happens?
    – user7678
    Apr 18 '16 at 16:16
  • 1
    I guess it's normal for some children to feel afraid when alone. Some are able to conquer this early, but some may be later.
    – adipro
    Apr 18 '16 at 23:53
  • Do you behave in an exaggerated way when responding to this? My kids used to be like that but it usually leveled out by age 3 or so. I attribute it to not making sudden or consoling reactions when they complain about being alone or scared. Just talk through it. I still have to lay there while the 3 year old sleeps but the nonchalant method seems to be paying off for the most part. If only it worked for getting them to eat a meal in under 2 hours.
    – Kai Qing
    Apr 19 '16 at 1:18
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    No, brushing it off isn't exactly what I mean. More like not being overly consoling. If my girl says she's scared there's a goblin upstairs I walk with her upstairs while talking to her about goblins pretty casually. But not like holding her and trying to convince her there's no such thing. I say things like - Nah, goblins don't care to bother people. They live in mountains and like goats and things. No big deal. Then kind of move on to another subject. Among other casual discussions on common fears she managed to turn her fear into interest. Now she wants me to read stories of monsters
    – Kai Qing
    Apr 25 '16 at 22:51

I'm not sure what the question is, but I'll interpret as, "How should we respond if a child is unable to do anything alone?"

I think the child is showing less tolerance for solitude than average for that age, but it doesn't mean that something is wrong. If you are grandparents, you probably grew up at a time where children's fears and solitude were widely ignored, which is not necessarily the best thing. I would respond by ensuring she has the company of other people, whenever she desires it. That way, she will not be forced into a situation that makes her afraid, and will probably gradually develop more confidence.

Of course, if you are grandparents, you may not be the everyday adults in her home, and this makes it more difficult and less appropriate for you to change what she's used to. If her parents don't force her to be alone, you shouldn't either. You should discuss this with her parents.

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