My son was an easygoing baby who was content in anyone’s arms. My daughter was the total opposite. If she wasn’t snuggled up close to me, she wasn’t happy. Now that she’s older, she’s gained independence, but she still likes being close to me. If you have a baby or toddler who never wants you to go, try these ways to cope.
Monitor the Clingy Behavior
Does your young child act clingy all the time or only during certain times of the day? Infants and toddlers might get more clingy as they get tired or hungry. Knowing when your child is most likely to cling to you helps you plan your day a little better. If your toddler has an independent streak mid-morning, for example, use that time to tackle your housework.
Bond With Baby
A strong bond with his parents may help your young child eventually feel confident enough to become more independent. Give your tot lots of love and attention with a healthy dose of patience. Encourage your spouse to do the same. If you leave your child with a caregiver, show that you trust the child care provider so your child may feel that the person is trustworthy.
The clingy behavior likely leaves you exhausted, frustrated or anxious. Your tot picks up on those feelings and he might start feeling them too. If your anxiety rubs off on him, he’s even less likely to venture off to do his own thing. It’s not easy, but focus on relaxing and accepting that your child is in a clingy stage. Be okay with having a messy house because you are not able to break free long enough to clean it. As you relax, you may notice your child becoming more relaxed. He may even let you put him down for a few minutes.
Jump on Independent Behaviors
It’s natural to be overprotective of your kids, especially when they are young. But all that jumping in at any sign of potential danger encourages clingy behaviors. Hold back before jumping in to protect or help your child. Give him a chance to figure out things on his own.
When he shows signs of independence, encourage those behaviors. If he crawls away to explore the room, keep an eye on him from across the room — assuming the room is babyproofed — so he has some freedom to look around. Praise him when he does show signs of independence.
Your baby needs you, but you also need to take care of yourself so you are rested and refreshed. It’s difficult to leave your baby with your spouse or a caregiver when he is screaming for you, but you need some time away. Get out of the house for a few hours to relax and get a break from the clingy behavior. When you return, you may have a better outlook on the situation and be better prepared to handle it.