Adelaide Obstetrics & Fertility is proud to introduce Heather an experienced teacher and private nanny who will be offering advice and strategies for parents.
My name is Heather Gunn. After completing my teaching degree (BTeach (Early Childhood Education)) in New Zealand, I have had 8 years of teaching experience and three years’ experience as a private nanny. My passions lie in working with toddlers and young children and exploring alongside them. I strive to work with parents to further their understanding of the behaviour and levels of development that young children experience each day.
Question from Sarah: Hi Heather, how can I break the cycle of my 2 year old CONSTANTLY following me around the house grizzling and wanting me to pick her up? It’s driving me nuts!
Hello Sarah. Thank you so much for your question.
When children are having separation anxiety it can make things very hard. There is usually a cause of this sudden change in behaviour in young children. When they know or sense a change coming up, this can spark some anxiety in young children and results in clingy behaviour.
Clingy periods tend to coincide with children taking developmental steps toward independence (like language acquisition). Sometimes they occur when children face new situations or transitions (for example, mum’s expecting). As understandable as this is, it’s still intensely stifling, frustrating and guilt-inducing when our lovable toddlers can’t let us out of her sight for even a second.
Understanding why a child is going through a change in behaviour can help the adults to deal with it, emotionally and practically, and allow you to work with your child through these behaviours. It can take time, but understanding the why is important. Respect why the child is feeling this way, accept it as being justified, and help the child function as well as she can. Because you are your child’s most secure attachment, you are the one they are going to come to in times of unease. You are the one they know will comfort and reassure them.
Do some clever environmental engineering to make things easier on you. If your child demands that you stay in the playroom with him but you really need to be in the kitchen, set up a mini play area in the kitchen so they can do their own thing while keeping you within eyesight. Or if you need to cook dinner, is there space at the bench for your toddler to help? Offer them some veggies to chop, or something to mix in a bowl. This way you are still near each other, while opening the door to many potential learning experiences through this shared activity.
Neediness is hard, it’s exhausting. But life is really scary as a toddler, and it’s pretty amazing that as parents and caregivers we have the power, with a quick swoop of our arms, to make everything right in their hearts again.