6 Awesome Ways To Handle A Clingy Toddler
My baby has become a clingy toddler” it is one of those common woes that you as a mother might have come across many times. The development of the kids undergoes several phases. Their brains are rapidly growing and exploring as they begin to understand the world a bit. Sometimes the most adventurous phase can your toddler go is a “clingy phase”.
Possible reasons why your child is being a clingy baby:
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• The arrival of a new baby making your toddler feel clingy, as he/she might feel that they are not loved anymore
• Your toddler is becoming aware of your absence, and hence they look at it in a negative way
• Your tiny tot may have trust issues
• He/she is teething
• The child is experiencing a separation anxiety
• When you have just started putting your toddler in a daycare
• You have moved to a new place
• Maybe your child is not feeling well and might need your support
Let’s deep-dive into the causes:
Understand that clingy behavior is normal
You might be feeling overwhelming or tiring because of your clingy toddler. However, based on your child’s development, specifically, their brain part develops hundreds of emotions out of which clinginess is one of the behaviors. Sure, there’s a reason behind why your child is acting clingy, but with patience, warmth and care you can help your toddler get rid of this.
By following the positive parenting tips, one can handle the clingy behavior of a child. Kids are designed to find trust in their parents.
The child psychology experts suggest that you should let your child explore and play. This will help them develop trust and become more confident about taking a risk on their own. If you encourage your toddler to play independently along with providing safety whenever he/she needs, it is more likely that the clingy behavior of your child will reduce quickly.
Picking one parent over another:
Does your child want her daddy to put her to bed? Does he/she only want mom to feed? Relax, nothing to worry. It is just a phase in your child’s life. This is quite painful for the parent who is being excluded, but it is just a phase which will pass. While your child is still learning the attachment process, it is obvious for your kid to have developed the fear of losing out. This generally happens with the parent who is mostly busy or not at home. Kids find opportunities to spend some time with them.
Not mature enough to understand:
Even at the age of 3 or 5 the kid’s brain is not fully mature enough to respond well to distress, anxiety, fear or worry. Turning to the parents when they are nervous, or concerned about the shadows they see, clowns, ladybugs, is completely normal. Your child will eventually learn about these emotions and will know how to handle them with their age-appropriate maturity.
Ease of interaction:
Clinging to daddy or mommy is a sign that your child is looking for more trust, and comfort. Your little one is probably feeling frightened about something and cannot convey what he/she is feeling. Hence, it is important that your child interacts with others because this will help, strike a balance in conveying a reassurance about your presence and being comfortable with others around him.
Encourage your child to spend time with other family members as it makes it tough for you as well carrying her all the time. Gradually increase the distance between you and your child when you have few people in the room. Also try to interact with ease, using soothing words which may provide an assurance that you’d be always there for them.
6 ways in which you can deal with clingy child:
1. Be predictable:
Try to streamline your child’s routine or schedule as much as possible. Toddlers do not have the sense of their schedule hence; they are less expected to follow the timetable. Make it predictable. Start with weekly schedules, tell them what to expect next, and fix a slot to spend time together. For e.g., “Remember, reading time is after the dinner”, this will reduce the anxiety by bringing a sense of regularity and arrangement of their day.
2. Say goodbye, with love:
Do not linger, be brief, and do not overreact if your child gets upset when you say goodbye. Exaggerating will only feed into your child’s anxiety making it worse, whereas prolonging your stay will make your child clingy, and he/she might seek empathy, urging you to stay back.
3. Build independence:
Some parents freak out when their kid has a hard time to let go. However, this will make the situation worse and your kid will become more anxious and clingy. To avoid this you need to leave them on their own and allow them to do the age-appropriate task with freedom. This aids in boosting their self-confidence ensuring that they can take care of themselves and the situation. Make the items accessible, for e.g. keeping your child’s stuff in the lower drawers instead of keeping them out of their reach.
4. Be mindful of changes:
Struggling with what exactly to do when your child refuses to leave you? Your little one may not be able to explain the emotion such as the 1st day at the school. Dig deep into their behavioral changes. Notice if the change is recent or if it is because of some past reasons. Is your toddler sick? Does he miss you especially when you are working late? These small factors can impact the behavior therefore; it is important to be mindful of the changes your tiny tot is experiencing and try improving the situation by working on it.
5. Encourage regular time with others:
This parenting tip is a great one and super effective too. Encourage your clingy toddler to play with other kids when you take him/her to the park or attend any event or occasion. Arrange for a play date so that your kid can have his/her buddies coming over to spend some time. Encourage other kids to play your toddler’s favorite game. This will boost his/her confidence to make them independent. If your kid has siblings, you encourage them to play together, this will bring a sense of security among them.
6. Allow your toddler to feel his feelings:
Kids are different and every kid has a different way of reciprocating hence, few kids learn quickly and adjust whereas others take time. If yours is in the latter category it is perfectly all right.
Punishing for being clingy or forcing him to mingle won’t help. Acknowledge how your child is feeling and assure that it is okay for the kids to behave in such a manner. Don’t make your baby feel awkward or ashamed for that.
Image source - babyology.com.au
Let your tiny tot know that you will always be there for him. Make your toddler feel that you understand what they are going through and help him to cope with the same. Comfort his feelings and help boost his confidence. This is how he’d be able to gain self-assurance and flourish on his own. Being clingy is typically a temporary thing and passes when your toddler starts adjusting to the new changes in life and becomes an independent kid.
Also read: Dealing With Kids “Problem Behavior”