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Anti-Anxiety Meds for Preschool/Kindegardeners?

6 answers
We're kind of at the end of our rope and giving our child medication would be a last resort. Our daughter will be 5 in October. She's been going to daycare since she was 6 weeks old until she turned 3.5 when we put her into a preschool program. She's always been shy, never the type of kid to run up to strangers and start talking to them (or even acknowledge them really). About the time she turned 2.5-3, she started getting clingy and we'd have issues dropping her off at daycare. I'd leave her crying or some days screaming. We put her into preschool thinking it'd be a little more structured and to give her a fresh start with different teachers and different kids. Needless to say the first couple weeks were horrible. She slowly adjusted to being dropped off (first 2 days a week currently 3 days a week). She was never happy but would at least sit quietly and not cry - most mornings, there were always exceptions. The past month or so she's resorted to being clingy and crying when we leave her. She doesn't play with any kids, she refuses to join most activities if there are kids around. She rarely talks to anyone, only if the teachers really work with her. She's a smart kid and talks constantly when we're at home and she loves playing with her younger brother. We signed her up for Early-5's (pre-kindegarden) this fall but I dread having to drop her off at latchkey 5 days a week. She told me this morning she doesn't like going to school but I couldn't get her to tell me why other than she wanted to be with me. I tried to explain to her I didn't like going to work every day but I have to so we can afford food, toys and do fun things. I'm considering talking to her pediatrician to see what he says about perhaps getting her on a very low-dose of anti-anxiety meds to see if helps at all (I'm not even sure if they'll put kids her age on them). Previously he's always said it's just a stage and she'll grow out of it. I was shy too, but I don't want her growing up without friends and hating school. Any suggestions or advise from parents who have had the same problems? Any parents put their young kids on anxiety meds - did it help?

answers (6)

passion flower extract can be used for kids with anxiety, and low grade autism. my sister in law has a newphew that has low grade autism, and a lot of anxiety. the mother gives him the extract on a regular basis, and swears that it helps. something to talk to the doctor about, definitely. you can purchase it online, or an organic grocery store. maybe even GNC.
I'm an educational psychologist and consultant. Way too many kids, younger and younger, are being medicated, and too quickly. It certainly does sound as if there is a problem, but before trying medication, have you taken your daughter to see a child psychologist to try to get at the root of what is causing her to be anxious or have separation anxiety/school phobia? A therapist who can figure out what is causing this distress may be able to help you understand it and make changes in her school/routine/relationship with you, etc., that would alleviate the anxiety. They could possibly help the teacher understand how to be more effective at drop-off and during the day. I feel it is too soon to jump to medication. Please get professional advice first.Lori Daywww.loridayconsulting.com
Maybe there is a bully at the school. Have you ever sat in on a day at her school to see what goes on?
Hi! It can be hard to help children with separation and with going to a new school. I've found that when I listen to all my daughter's big feelings about what is happening to her, she is better able to weather the storm and we can manage the changes together. Expecting her personality to change isn't an option for us. Medication wouldn't begin to get at the cause of the trouble. The only approach that addresses what kids need is one that offers listening, empathy, and connection. The best way to do it, so far as I've found, is what handinhandparenting.org recommends; here's an article on helping kids who struggle with school:http://www.handinhandparenting.org/news/11/64/Getting-Through-School-StrugglesGood luck! JR
I also found another article that might be helpful. Here's an exceprt:Healing the Hurt of Separation by Patty Wipfler Children thrive on connection with their parents. Their need for a sense of connection is strong and constant through childhood. It is this sense of safety and connection that allows children to learn at a great rate, to experiment and play so fully, to enjoy themselves and others without reservation, and to trust in the goodness of the people they know. A child's sense of connection and safety is easily broken. With infants and young children, a parent turning away to wash his hands or do the dishes is sometimes enough to break a child's sense that all is well. Because of this fragility, sooner or later, every child experiences some sad feelings about separation. When a child feels upset by separation, there are two kinds of causes. The break in connection is happening now. For instance, a parent goes to work, or must leave on a trip. A small hint of separation kicks up stored feelings. Putting a child to bed, going to another room, talking on the phone, or being rushed and overworked can open the floodgates to anxiety or grief that comes from earlier, more difficult separations. Unresolved fears about separation are often at the root of difficult behaviors. When a child is loaded with feelings about separation, but doesn't get a chance to express them, he can't sense that he's safe. He can't think. He signals that he is "off track" when he: Bites, hurts, or is forcefully "affectionate" with others.Withdraws from others or excludes others in their play.Wanders from one activity to another without paying attention to what he is doing.Whines or balks or is picky, or needs a special object to keep him from feeling upset. You can help a child work through his feelings about separation..read more at http://www.handinhandparenting.org/news/44/64/Healing-the-Hurt-of-SeparationThis article was a lifesaver for us!JR  
NO to meds.  She is too young.  Anxiety, although a very real physical response, can be treated with teaching relaxation and other coping skills.  I agree with one of the previous comments- try a child therapsit first. 

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