Welcome to JA. My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in NYS. I am preparing my reply and will post in one moment.
Hello Joel, thank you for your patience in waiting for an answer. First, please let me say your daughter is very lucky to have both you and her mother who are so committed to having a healthy relationship with each other on her behalf. I tend to be pretty liberal when it comes to young children and what they need. In other words she is only going to be this young for a very short time and I believe in giving young children lots of love and listening to what they are letting you know they need. The world can be an awfully big, scary place at this age with an awful lot for a 5 year old to figure out. It is natural at her age for your daughter to be experiencing separation anxiety. she is very young and her favorite and safest place is with one or both of you. Her school and teacher are most likely familiar with this issue in their young students. One of the things that can help is being able to stay with her in her classroom in the morning until she becomes engaged with the activities. Could you talk to her teacher and find out if this is possible? Also seeing you as part of the environment will help her to associate you or her mom as part of her time there. In addition, based on Object Relations theory it would be excellent to give her something to keep with her during her time away that reminds her of you, her mom or home. It can be something small she keeps in her pocket but it will provide her with comfort and soothing when she needs it. Even writing I love you on her hand or in her palm, anything that lets her experience you or her mom up close with her while you are gone. She will eventually developmentally outgrow her anxiety about transitioning from family to school, so don't worry. The second issue of her not liking to sleep alone is also understandable. Is it possible for one of you to lay down with her until she falls asleep and then put er in her own bed? Again, I think given her young, tender age it is okay for her to get her emotional needs met that help her to feel secure and safe. I hope this is helpful to you, please let me know if you need to discuss this further or have any other questions. I am here for you. Sincerely, ***** ***** LMSW, CASAC
Hello Joel, I wanted to check in and see how your daughter is doing and if any of my suggestions have been helpful? Linda D., LMSW, CASAC
Also, could you please take a moment to rate my service to you as this is the only way we are compensated for our time. Thank you, ***** ***** it very much.