Nobody has a grand vision to raise a clingy toddler. Although they’re by no means bad kids, raising tots that always need your attention is draining and intense. You don’t even get to spend five minutes to pee in peace.
But it takes two to tango, and clinginess is as much about you as it is about your tot. If you don’t want to raise a clingy toddler, rest assured that it just takes some mindful adjustments to your current approach. Here’s how to help your tot become autonomous, confident, and independent!
How not to raise a clingy toddler
1. Give them space mama
It’s normal to feel kind of compelled to always interact with your kid. Come on, they’re cute and snuggly and who doesn’t want to bury themselves in that? Most of us also have a misplaced sense of parental duty, thinking that we need to bring joy into the lives of our kids at every moment. To keep them happy, we’re always making noises and pulling funny faces just for the sake of keeping them entertained. But you need to back off! The world is full of wonder, and your kid doesn’t need all those silly faces to enhance the experience of living. Kids need space and time to quietly observe the world around them. Your job is to cherish those moments. Sit back, and watch them without interrupting them.
2. Separate from them with confidence
Your kid WILL survive without you for a short period, and you are NOT a terrible parent for not being with them every waking second. Let’s take a toilet break as a simple example. Let your kid know that you’re going to the loo and that you’ll be back in 5 minutes. Tell them ONCE an then make your move. Don’t run for the door or try to make a quick escape. You need to be calm, connect with your kid, and then confidently move away. Your clingy tot won’t want you to go, but they also don’t need you to stay because it’s a matter of life and death. You need to separate from them for a short time, so stick to your guns and stay as calm and as confident as possible. With some practice, your kid will relax in the knowledge that you’re gone but will be back soon.
3. Stop over-rescuing your tot
It’s normal to want to dive in and save your toddler whenever you see them struggling, but over-rescuing is BAD. It’s always better to hold back and observe before immediately intervening. Kids sometimes get super frustrated, but they don’t always want help. Give your toddler some space and see if he or she can figure out a solution to the problem without your help. If you give them the time and space they need to figure things out for themselves, it develops their skills and confidence in their own abilities.