Clingy kids are normal kids; it is a phase that most parents can identify with, that usually fades on its own in time. While there is nothing inherently wrong with a child who wants to be attached to their mummy every waking moment, it can certainly make it difficult to get anything done. If you have a clingy child, there are things you can do to help usher your infant into a more secure sense of being, and help you maintain your sanity.
Playdates are a great way to introduce your child to other people and help in developing social skills. Arrange small playdates with children your child's age, and stay nearby during the activity. Let your infant see you interact with other adults, and give encouragement and praise for playing well with others. Later, talk your offspring about all the fun he or she had with friends. As children become more and more comfortable with other kids and adults, they will become less and less dependent on parents for emotional support during these times.
Help your child build a sense of independence by assigning small, individual tasks to complete alone. Have him or her pick up toys, set the table or put away laundry. Give praise when these tasks are completed, making sure to emphasize that the child did it all on it's own. Let them feel proud of themselves for being independent. It also helps if you have a predictable schedule at home, and let your child know about any changes that will be made to the schedule. Children need routine, and knowing what to expect can help lessen any anxiety they might feel. Be sure to schedule some special one-on-one time with your child as well. Even just ten minutes of undivided attention can help your child feel more secure, especially if a new sibling has come along, or there are other changes at home.
For difficulties with goodbyes and separations, do not sneak out, no matter how tempting it may be. Try to come up with a special goodbye for you and your child to use each time. For instance, you can say, "See you later, alligator!" and have your child respond with "In a while, crocodile!" This can help keep the goodbye brief and low-key and sends a message that you are leaving, but it is okay, because you will be back. If your child cries or gets upset, try not to overreact, but give reassurance that you will be back. Start with short separations. It may take a few tries, but after a child sees over and over that a parent leaves but always come back, it is easier for it to adjust to longer separations, particularly if the temporary carer can build a good rapport.
Whilst having a clingy kid may be a bit inconvenient, with patience and good practice, it can be nothing more than a short-lived phase. Praise and encouragement and small steps can help your child blossom into a happy kid who loves Mummy and Daddy, but can be without them, too.
Please be aware that the articles on this site are written by mothers who are discussing their own experiences and their own opinions. They do not, and are not meant to, represent professional advice and should be read with that point firmly in mind.
Our children’s welfare is paramount; if you are ever in the slightest doubt about any aspect of caring for a child you are urged to seek qualified, specialist advice from a professional advisor.