Why is my child so clingy?
Your child’s clinginess might have something to do with his temperament. Some babies are needier than other babies and some children need more support from their parents in social situations. That’s okay! Understanding your child’s temperament can be such an empowering tool for parents, especially when your child’s temperament is so different from your own. Read here to find out how temperament can affect your parenting.
It is also normal for toddlers to go through phases of clinginess, especially during life changes or when they’re sick. It can feel overwhelming, and sometimes manipulative, when your toddler who is all about asserting his independence suddenly becomes clingy. This is normal. You are not being manipulated and you will not spoil him. Respond to your child: comfort him, validate his feelings, build trust, and ultimately your child will feel secure enough to explore again. Do not push a clingy child away as it will only result in more clinginess. The quickest way to get him back to his normal, independent self, is to meet his needs and let him hold onto their safe space--you.
With older kids, clinginess might be an indication that they feel overwhelmed by a new life event: a new sibling, starting school, moving, travel, household stress...basically a disruption of their normal routine. Again, you want to provide a safe space for your child. Do not ignore him, but rather, listen to what he is trying to tell you. Your child might need to talk about his feelings, be reassured, or even get more one on one time with you. If you can figure out the source of your child’s sudden clinginess and address it, it will usually pass within a couple weeks.
For more helpful tips, research, and a relatable story, check out this Slate article, “Caaaarrrryyyyy Meeeeeeeee! How to handle a clingy kid.”
If you are concerned about your child’s behavior, please call our parenting phone line at 844.456.5437 to talk to one of our care coordinators.
- Social Emotional