TACKLING CLINGINESS IN CHILDREN

Bayo Ajibola

TACKLING CLINGINESS IN CHILDREN

Clinginess in children is a natural reaction and a temporary phase.  Most times, it is based on fear of separation from parents, changes in immediate environment (new school, new minders, new home, new baby) and anxiety.  It can be really frustrating for the parent, especially where the child doesn’t just want to be by the parent’s side but demands to be lifted.  The cries and tantrums that follow the refusal of such demand are even more frustrating for the parent.

Here are tips on how to tackle clinginess:

  •          Make attempts to identify the reason for clinginess. Do not ignore or punish clingy behaviour. Talk to her calmly and lovingly.
  •          Make sure she socializes with kids of the same age. Interacting with other kids outside her immediate family helps her become independent and also develops her social skills.
  •          Distract her with fun activities.  While doing the dishes or any household chores, sing songs, make funny faces, and so on.  While walking, play some games along the way, point out some interesting sights.
  •          Make her feel independent and important. She can push the trolley with you when shopping or pick up little items that are within her reachfrom the shelves. You may alsogive her the money to pay for your items at the counter. Make her feel like a big girl. Kids love feeling grown up.
  •          Encourage independent play. Praise her when she does any activity by herself. You can even suggest activities you will want her to try. By not interrupting her during playtime, you are trying to build her confidence, increase her attention span and her level of imagination.
  •          Give your child an insight into the day’s activities. Hours before you leave, tell her ofyour plans so that she will prepare her mind towards them (even if not looking forward to them). Let your child know she will be going to the nursery, or she will be going to a friend’s house to play and so on.
  •          Reassure your child. Don’t sneak out of the nursery during drop-off. Most people believe the child will settle if the parent just disappears. On the contrary, this only builds fear and distrust in the heart of your child towards you.  At every point in time, your child may think you’ll slip out. The best approach is to reassure her that you love her and that you are leaving but won’tbe gone for long.  Promise her you will be back for her.
  •          Be confident. Do not prolong the goodbyes. It is pretty hard to leave when you hear your little one screaming, but staying with her longer than necessary will only make the separation harder for both of you. Say a short but reassuring goodbye, give a hug and a kiss and leave.

Always remember that clinginess is temporary and part of your child’s development.  It will pass once the child has adjusted to changes and has developed skills to be more independent.


Bayo Ajibola

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