Balancing Your Toddler’s Clinginess and Need For Exploration
Clinginess in toddlers is something that parents experience when their babies are between 18-25 months old. Mothers tend to be the object of clinginess more than fathers. What do you do? Do you scold your child or cave in to her demands?
For toddlers, parental attention is very important for healthy social and emotional development. But what do you do when your child goes from needing attention to getting clingy? When she wants to be in the kitchen with you all the time, when she cries when you go to take a bath, when she has an outburst of tears if you go out of the house for a second– these can be signs of clinginess. How do you handle things?
Why Toddlers Need Attention from Parents
All children need attention. It makes them feel happy and loved. The connection they have with their parents is very strong and if they feel neglected, they may cry and even throw a little tantrum. While this is normal, some toddlers become possessive of their mothers even if they give them a healthy amount of attention. It could be due to anxiety or if there are changes in their environment or their routine.
How To Explore The World With Your Tot
- Be an explorer with your child. You may ask here why exploring the environment is important for toddlers. It’s because it gives them a sense of control and also allows them to engage in much more focused and independent play.
- Take time to engage in constructive play with her, and provide an environment conducive to safe exploring for your toddler.
- Make sure you encourage her to learn new things, like a new flower you catch sight of, or a bird that just flew down. You are your tot’s favourite fellow-mate during exploration. Also become his best teacher!
How to Deal With a Clingy Toddler
While exploring the world together is a lot of fun, clinginess is not. Your child needs to learn independence and do things on their own.
- First, try to identify the reason for your toddler being clingy. Have you been spending enough quality time with her?
- If your 23-month-old has become clingy, avoid making the issue about you. It is always about your baby.
- Refrain from scolding her. Keeping her occupied will take her mind off you.
- Talk to her and gently make her understand that doing things like crying or causing dramatic scenes to get your attention is not good.
- Some toddlers clingy toward their mums go through separation anxiety and do not like to be away from parents for too long.
- Play games with her in which she can easily win. As she starts to become less clingy, you can make the learning environment for your toddler more challenging.
- Create distractions for her, like a colouring book and crayons, building blocks, nesting toys, and toy cars.
- Try not to speak in a loud voice over the phone or face-to-face when your toddler is around. She may feel anxious.
The next time your child starts to make a cry about you leaving the house, understand that it’s a toddler’s clingy phase.