View Full Version : Unsettled 4 year old - Help please!

10-09-2009, 11:14 PM
Hi Everyone, I'm a new childminder and prior to this week have only had a couple of after schoolers who have settled in well. This week though I have just started looking after a 4 year old who is going to school (reception) in the mornings and I'm picking her up after lunch four times a week.

Up til yesterday she has been fine and come to me with no problems at all, but today when I picked her up she cried for mum as soon as she came out of school and then ran on ahead of me all the way home (I had my 1 year DS in pushchair) - her mum lets her run on ahead but I prefer her to stay beside me, but today she wanted nothing to do with me and half way home refused to walk any further.

She was pretty inconsolable once in the house, I did leave her in quiet safe place to calm down and tried distracting her and finally (after about 40 minutes) she came and played outside. But she said she didn't want to come over to the school to pick my daughter up and as she had been so upset I didn't push it as my partner was there and picked her up instead for me.

I just would really like to know how any of you would have handled this, as to be honest it really knocked my confidence as I thought she was fine with me, I'm also really worried now about next week as I have to pick my daughter up from school and I also have some other mindees to pick up on a couple of the days and am concerned she's going to refuse to go and start running off from me when we do go!

Any help would be gratefully appreciated !


11-09-2009, 05:59 AM
sounds to me shes rebbelling a bit because mum is leaving her and its now sunk in that this is the new routine and she prehaps missis mum a bit but also is sounds to me like she is trying to push the boundries and see how far she can push you and what she can and cant get away with.
if it were me i would stick to your rule of not running off on the way home, if she wants to sulk then let her get on with it then when shes ok again make a big fuss of her and play games or do and activity with her.
when i have new ones even on day one they dont get away with rule breaking as they think they can do it all they time, i am sort of strict but in a kind way to begin with then once they know the rules there is excuse.

11-09-2009, 06:08 AM
Sounds like my daughter when she did her trial day at school, maybe she is just completely exhausted. I know you said she is only doing half days but she sounds tired and confused by everything. I would have done the same as you or sat her in front of the TV to chill or read her a book but I think you did the right thing. School can be exhausting when they first go, my eldest DD cried on pick up every day for two weeks and all the way home and was naughty. My middle one starts in two weeks having missed the induction due to an operation and the head has said he still wants her to do the half days when everyone else is full time as its the tiredness factor. I hope she improves for you soon.

Tam's Tribe
11-09-2009, 06:09 AM

Dont be fooled by 4 year olds, my youngest is 4 and I look after a 4 year old and believe me, you must still stick to your rules i.e. walking next to the pram, etc.

They will certainly try to push the boundaries and they are old enough to know better. The 4 yr old I look after sulks and has a terrible temper, even kicks mum in the playground but she has never behaved like that for me . . . once I could see in her face she was thinking how far she could push me but I told her she will do as she is told in a calm manner, sat on the floor with her and I think she realised she couldnt get away with it with me . . . she is an angel for me!!!

I feel from your story that she was in charge yesterday . . . you should stick to your routines.

Perhaps she just had a bad day at school or was tired or missing mum . . . I would have sat next to her and asked how was school, etc. and if she was non responsive, I would just let her know that you are there for her.

Bless em, they are still discovering all their emotions!!!


11-09-2009, 07:10 AM
I agree with the others - time to show her who is boss!

Running off is a complete no no... apart from the road safety / stranger danger issue it is giving her control of a situation that, at her age, she is not able to manage.

Yes she is probably tired but that is no excuse not to follow basic boundaries... walk next to me, hold onto the pram, walk sensibly next to roads.

Hth :D

11-09-2009, 07:27 AM
Set the ground rules for her she needs them. Also remember she has had two new changes in her live you and the reception class. Alot to take so its not suprising she has started to act out probably thinks she will get away with it with you. I flatly refuse to walk if they dont walk where they are supposed to be.

11-09-2009, 06:20 PM
She's tired and wants her mum, nothing wrong with that and is to be expected, could mum do a small snack especially for her to look forward to and also put a buggy board on the buggy or use a double, safer and less tiring.

11-09-2009, 07:19 PM
Something may have happened in school that she doesn't know how to deal with and hasn't got the skills to express herself properly yet. Perhaps mum could talk to her?

However, she is 4 and more than capable of sticking within the boundaries of good behaviour, especially running ahead. She's testing you :), stick to your guns!