It isn’t uncommon to see young kids screaming, clinging on to their parents and begging them not to leave. This scenario usually happens when a child doesn’t feel comfortable in their new surroundings. They exhibit clingy behavior when they are anxious. They only want to feel secure with their parents and caregiver. While parents would agree that dealing with this behavior is quite a challenge, it’s important to understand that it is part of your child’s healthy development. Learn how to ease your clingy toddler’s separation anxiety and make them feel safer with these helpful tips.
Be mindful of your responses
Dealing with a clingy toddler, especially when they start throwing tantrums, is enough to make any parent lose their patience. However, it is extremely important to stay calm and in control. Instead of acting distressed, show your toddler that you are in charge of the situation by staying firm. Assure them that there is nothing they should fear and that you’ll always come back for them. Also, never sneak away behind their back. Leaving them without saying goodbye is one of the worst things to do as it will only increase their clingy behavior the next time you’ll have to leave.
Give them a fun activity to practice independence
Another excellent way to deal with a clingy toddler is to give them a fun game or activity that will keep them busy. This activity should be something that will let them practice their independence, such as solving a puzzle. Not only will it help them develop their sense of independence, but it will also help practice their problem solving skills and foster their cognitive development.
Teach your little one to be less dependent on you by allowing them to make their own decisions. Allow them to perform simple tasks without your help. Some examples are getting their own snacks, putting away their toys, making their bed, and so on. It is also a great idea to get them involved in household chores, like dusting the furniture, cooking and so on.
Encourage them to play with their siblings
If you have other children, it is a lot easier to handle the behavior of your clingy toddler. Encourage your kids to have fun and play together. Talk to the older siblings and have them play your toddler’s favorite game. Let them understand the importance of them spending time with their little sibling. This is one effective way for them to learn how to be comfortable with members of the family other than their parents.
Spend time with other people, too
One of the reasons why young children tend to be clingier is that they have grown used to being with only you. What you can do is have them spend time with other people on a regular basis. For example, schedule visits to a family friend with kids. This will help them increase their level of comfort with other adults and at the same time, enjoy play dates with other children. Also consider establishing a weekend routine where you bring them to visit their grandparents. Doing this is an effective way to get them used to being with other people besides you.
Acknowledge how they feel
Being clingy isn’t something that any child has purposely chosen to be. It is a natural part of their development. Instead of making them feel bad during every meltdown, acknowledge how they feel. Let them know that other children feel the same way at times. Never punish them for their separation anxiety, but reassure them that there’s no reason they should be afraid. Make them feel understood. It will help them a lot. Their only source of comfort is their parents, so empathize and validate their feelings.
Most parents would agree that dealing with a clingy toddler is tough. But with the help of these tips, you can ease your child’s separation anxiety and increase their confidence even when you’re apart.
Sending your little one to preschool is also an excellent way to develop their sense of independence. If you’re looking for the best preschool for your little one, please consider Young Scholars Academy.