You are desperate to get your chores completed, but your toddler will not leave you alone!
I have been there. You end up spending time with your toddler just to shut them up.
Chores never get completed, and yet your toddler still demands more of your time!
But, it doesn’t have to be that way! Not at all.
In this post, I am going to run through the steps you can take if your toddler demands constant attention.
Hang on, before we start, ask yourself the following question:
Do I pay my toddler enough attention?
It could be that your toddler wants constant attention because they are not getting enough of it!
If the answer to the question above is yes, then we are good to go. If the answer is no then you know what to do!
Table of Contents
- Why Do Toddlers Need Attention?
- Child Attention Seeking Symptoms
- Excessive Crying
- Excessive Questioning
- Excessive Hugging
- Constantly Hurting Themselves
- Fake Illness
- Overdoing Compliments
- Toddler Demands Constant Attention? Try These Tips
- Positive Attention Seeking Chart
- Independent Play Ideas
- Listen To Them
- Set A Timer When Doing Chores
- Consider Play Dates
- Spend More Time With Them
- Do Toddlers Need Constant Attention?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Why does my toddler constantly scream?
- Am I paying my toddler enough attention?
- Are there any good ideas for independent play?
- Why does my Child cry for attention?
- When should I seek help with my ‘attention-seeking’ toddler?
Why Do Toddlers Need Attention?
Toddlers need constant mental stimulation. Constant stimulation might be in the form of:
- Problem Solving
- Imaginative Play
Without stimulation, your toddler will get frustrated, and they will show frustration in many different ways.
It is important as a parent to give your toddler the mental stimulation they need. If you are not taking care of that, then your toddler may respond by constantly demanding your attention.
Child Attention Seeking Symptoms
Let’s take a look at some examples of attention-seeking behavior in toddlers. Some are positive, some are negative, and some are just point blank charming!
This is the biggest child attention-seeking symptom. Crying. Why? Because they know that you will attend to them when they are crying.
Over time, you get to know your toddlers ‘cries’. You know when they are in pain, you know when they are sick, and you know when they are putting it on.
Toddlers want to learn, they are in the best phase of their life for learning! They will question… everything! When it is all of the time, then it can indicate that your toddler is simply seeking attention.
When my toddler doesn’t pay attention to the answer, I know he is doing it to get my attention.
Hugging is great, right? Well yes, but if it happens all of the time, even when you are desperate to get some food ready, or you are trying to get some chores done then it is going to get tiring.
Toddlers can go one step further and want to be picked up constantly!
I am not going to say stop hugging your toddler, that just will not happen, just keep an eye on it and notice any patterns emerging.
Constantly Hurting Themselves
Does your toddler constantly hurt themselves, or are they prone to exaggerating an injury?
Unfortunately, toddlers are not very steady on their feet, which leads to excessive injuries.
However, if you notice that your toddler is injuring themselves on purpose, or exaggerating and injury, it could be a sign that they are pushing for more of your attention.
Get yourself a thermometer, some plasters, and some bandages, because one of the symptoms of attention seeking is to feign illness!
Unfortunately, it makes it difficult to distinguish between reality and fictional illnesses!
Don’t get me wrong, it does make you feel good. It is like having your own positivity soldier!
Overdoing compliments is a sign that your toddler is seeking your attention. They may well have learned that paying you compliments will get your attention.
Toddlers learn fast!
Toddler Demands Constant Attention? Try These Tips
Positive Attention Seeking Chart
Toddlers love behavior/reward charts! If you do not have one, then you need to get involved in this, because it 100% works.
The rules are simple. Be good, and you will be rewarded.
If you are using a ‘star’ reward chart, promise your toddler a trip to the local park, or a new toy when they receive a certain amount of stars.
Be clear about what they are being rewarded for. Set expectations at the start and it will not fail. Remove stars for bad behavior!
Independent Play Ideas
Think of activities that encourage independent play.
It gives me a chance to cover off all of those household jobs my wife has left for me!
Listen To Them
Your Toddler may demand constant attention because they feel you do not listen to them.
Whilst it is true, their constant questions do get on my nerves from time to time, but they are just learning about life. They need to be listened to.
If a toddler is never listened to, it may become learned behavior which will be difficult to break in later life.
Set A Timer When Doing Chores
One little trick that I picked up when my son was demanding my attention was to set a timer when doing chores around your home.
Set expectations, such as; I am going to set a timer for 20 minutes. You let me know when the timer goes off and I will come over and play with you.
A timer also works well for bedtimes too!
Consider Play Dates
If you are drained and you need some help with your attention-seeking toddler, then why not arrange some play dates!
Arrange for a friend to come over with a toddler and unleash them upon each other.
Sure, for most of the playdate you will be refereeing, but at least it frees up some time and gets your toddler learning some vital life skills, such as sharing and conversational skills.
Spend More Time With Them
I know, it sounds counterproductive, but your toddler might just need a little more attention than you are giving them.
Since the invention of smartphones, and our seemingly constant need to check in with friends every 2 seconds, I have noticed something. That is a reduction in QUALITY time spent with Toddlers and children. Just because you are sitting there with your nose glued to your smartphone it doesn’t count as time spent together.
Put your phones down and get involved with what they are doing.
I have done it before, it is easy to be distracted by your smartphone. Whenever I feel that it is distracting me, I’ll leave it in another room.
Do Toddlers Need Constant Attention?
No, toddlers do not need constant attention! In fact, it is healthy to raise an independent toddler.
As a parent, it is our job to ensure our children are raised as independent kids, even though it is tough to let them go!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my toddler constantly scream?
Under normal circumstances, screaming will elicit a reaction where you rush over to your child to see what is wrong. Your toddler will learn this!
Another reaction (and one that I am certainly guilty of) is jumping when your child screams. Not only will that get your attention, but they will also find it funny!
Am I paying my toddler enough attention?
If you have noticed signs that you need to pay more attention to your child, then it might be true that you need to.
Consider other tasks you have in life, and try to organize those for when they do not require your attention.
Every Child is totally different in terms of neediness. Only you know your child, and you will know if you need to pay them more attention.
Are there any good ideas for independent play?
Yes, there are some excellent options for independent play, and it is a matter of finding the best ones!
I can guarantee that my Son will play happily on his own with sand and water toys, or lock and key toys. Duplo is another awesome independent play toy. Your toddler may need some help when they first begin building things. Once their imagination takes over, they are away building things on their own.
Why does my Child cry for attention?
Children cry for attention because that is what they are programmed to do. Nobody tells a baby that they need to cry when they are hungry, upset, or scared. They are born with the natural ability to cry.
When a child gets to toddler age, they do not lose that ability. They have learned that crying will get your attention, so that is what they do!
When should I seek help with my ‘attention-seeking’ toddler?
The simple answer is; when you feel like you need to seek professional help! Only you will know the situation you are in, and professionals will be able to help guide you through the process.
If your toddler demands constant attention then you can follow the tips on this page to help guide your toddler away from that behavior.
I must admit, I like the idea that my son wants my attention. It means he enjoys spending time with me and wants to do it all of the time. I would miss the feeling if it wasn’t happening.
Whilst a completely independent toddler sounds like a dream, how will it make you feel? Rejected?
There is a fine line between too much attention-seeking and not enough. When you hit the sweet spot, life is very cool!