Supporting a clingy child
Some tips to help with a child who is clingy
As adults and parents, we sometimes need to remind ourselves that clinginess is a natural reaction to feeling anxious or fretful about something, particularly if there have been some changes in your child’s life. In young children, clinginess is a normal response to feelings of anxiety or upset and can brought on by normal life changes such as a new baby, changes in routine or any number of new situations. The good news is it’s just a phase and there’s lots you can do to put your little one at ease and help them to move on.
Don’t ignore or overly discourage their clinginess. When young children exhibit clingy behaviour, view it as a positive sign that your child feels secure with you and seeks you out for comfort when they are upset or distressed
Praise your child for tasks or activities that they are able to do independently. Like helping to tidy up, finding their wellies or playing nicely on their own or with their friends. Praising your child for doing things independently helps them be confident without your constant close supervision and guidance
Increase social activities and arrange special playtime. Socialising with children of the same age will help children develop attachments to their peers and can build social skills necessary for interacting with people outside of the immediate family. Set up regular play dates (crèche is a great resource here) or schedule a fun day out or weekly trips to the local park
Stay with your child during social activities. Play with your child and their friends until they are comfortable playing on their own. Be available during play dates to teach and model social skills, respond to conflict, and monitor situations that may cause stress or anxiety
Use a consistent phrase when saying goodbye. Be brief, do not linger, and do not overreact if your child gets upset after saying goodbye. Overreacting will only feed into your child’s anxiety and make it worse, while lingering will increase the likelihood that your child will continue to cry or seek your affection to prolong your stay each time
Finally, remember, periodic clinginess is normal, and it’s actually a sign that you and your child have a healthy relationship.
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