3 Year Old with "Party Anxiety"

Updated on October 31, 2010
L.C. asks from Germantown, MD
7 answers

Hello everyone,

My daughther loves to go to her friends birthday/holiday parties but once she gets there she tends to whine and cling to me. She complains a lot and doesn't want to be involved in a lot of the activities going on. She is very close to all the friends that she sees at these parties so I'm unsure of why she feels this way. Has anyone else had this issue with their 3 year old? I'm just wondering why she has so much anxiety and becomes shy/hard to deal with in larger groups. It seems as though if the attention or my attention is not fully on her then she doesn't enjoy herself! I want to help her feel more comfortable and to enjoy her friends bdays. Any advice?

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answers from Portland on

I've known lots of "littles" who are fascinated by and attracted to group activities, but afraid to participate. All those group dynamics can be overwhelming. They need time to watch from the sidelines, maybe for another year or three. It's well within the range of "normal."

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Its fine.
My daughter was like that too.
NO biggie.
She is 8 now... and grew out of it.
3 years old is still very young.
My son who is 4, can be like that too sometimes.
Both my kids are "observers"... and very aware of their environment.
They just get shy-er... in some environments... even if they know the people there.

No biggie.
Age development.
They grow out of it.
Don't act like something is 'wrong' with her.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

My oldest was like this, he even went further and hated a lot of party entertainment, e.g. clowns, puppets especially, etc. Basically, he would know everyone but not participate - EVER. As he has gotten older he outgrew this but I did learn that this was just his personality, he doesn't like loud, he doesn't like people disguised, and he likes small groups. So really there is nothing wrong with him, it was just not his scene. Make sense? I wouldn't worry about it, just take her, hang out with her and if she participates - great, if not, then let it be. The bigger deal you make of it the more she will think there is something wrong with her and there is nothing wrong with her.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

There were quite a few 6 and 7 year olds at my daughter's party that had this same issue. We took my son to several parties at age 3 and he mainly wanted to play by himself. I don't think at that age playing with others has formed, it is still a lot of parallel play. And I still as an adult hate going to places with large groups of people. I would try to find out if anyone she knows will be there and then when you see them, encourage her to hang out with that child. That helps my kids sometimes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

don't push her. everyone has differing levels of how comfortable they are in crowds and social situations, and she's figuring hers out. let her be who she is. don't coddle her, but don't prevent her from experiencing parties either. let her stay close to you but don't fuss. after a while she'll start wanting to venture forth from your side but probably scurry back again. just be her safe haven.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My son had a friend that was kind of like that til he was about 5. Always sat on his mom's lap--didn't want to join in the games, etc. With him it seemed like he had trouble entering an existing gathering...it helped if he was O. of the first ones there....but he's fine now. (7 yo now)



answers from Cumberland on

Stop taking her-she is not having fun. Resume late on when she is able to be there on her own.

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