Children need attention and approval, and that’s a perfectly normal thing. However, attention seeking can be a problem when it happens all the time. Even more so if you have other children to consider.
Sometimes toddlers may misbehave purely to get your attention. Something that is very trivial can be turned into an absolute tragedy for a needy toddler. As much as you may want to rush to their assistance, excessive attention seeking can result in your child completely commanding your life.
As parents, there’s no need to eliminate your child’s need for attention and approval, but to utilise it in a way that helps you all. So, how much attention is too much? Well, that very much depends on you as parents and how much you choose to tolerate. Striking a balance between how much your children want and how much you can give is the key.
Having a needy toddler can be upsetting and frustrating – whether it’s clinging onto your legs or screaming if you disappear from sight – but it’s generally just another part of a child’s development. Sometimes a toddler will go through a phase of favouring one parent over the other, which can be very demanding for the chosen one! Try to get the other parent as involved as possible in all daily activities, from bathtime to reading stories and feeding. You could encourage time with other family members and friends too, letting them hold your toddler while you’re close by. Gradually increase the distance between you and others, but don’t force it – remember that for your needy toddler their feelings of insecurity are very real. When it’s just you and your child leave the room (if it’s safe to) but keep talking to them to reassure them you’re still around. Tell them where you are, what you’re doing and that you’ll be right back.
However hard it may feel at times, the needy phase will pass and your child will eventually learn to enjoy independence and that you’re close by even if they’re not with you all the time. And remember, their attachment to you is also a sign of love, so it can’t be all that bad!