Toddler Clinginess: What You Need To Know

This summer time, my household purchased and moved into our first home. I used to be excited to unfold out a bit in comparison with our cramped outdated rental dwelling. I used to be additionally wanting ahead to the open ground plan, pondering that my toddler might play within the different room whereas I cooked dinner whereas remaining in my line of sight. Sadly, proper across the time we moved in, toddler clinginess kicked in. I couldn’t even wash a dish on the sink whereas she stood proper subsequent to me—I needed to be holding her, or she was throwing a tantrum whereas clinging and clutching onto my leg. It wasn’t adequate for me to sit down on the ground and play together with her; she needed to be on my lap. We weren’t shut sufficient if we weren’t hooked up on the hip.

My daughter has all the time been a “mama’s woman,” and we’ve got all the time been shut. Due to this, she had a tricky preliminary adjustment to daycare at six months outdated. Nonetheless, she finally grew accustomed to her days at daycare and developed safe attachments together with her academics and associates there. She is mostly very social and pleased, so this sudden change in habits towards intense clinginess piqued my curiosity. What’s behind toddler clinginess? Is that this regular? How do I assist her and make this higher for us?

Why are Toddlers Clingy?

Clinginess is an indication that your toddler trusts you, feels protected round you, and desires to be close to you. Toddlers are nonetheless studying their world and look to you for indicators that their setting and surrounding persons are protected. Your closeness and presence reassure them. It is sensible for toddlers to be skeptical of recent conditions as a result of it fosters withdrawal from potential risks. Subsequently, new environments and situations may cause clingy behaviors to flare up.

Some youngsters may also be inclined towards clinginess. That is doubtless a mixture of genetic and discovered behaviors.1 Toddlers could be influenced by their household dynamics and state of affairs, sicknesses, routine adjustments, and different life occasions. Some widespread triggers for clinginess embody:

New Environments

Shifting appeared to coincide with the onset of my toddler’s clingy part, and I’m assured the 2 occasions are linked. It’s pure for individuals, significantly younger youngsters, to be skeptical of the brand new and unfamiliar. That is significantly true in the event that they concern feeling rejected or uncared for.1 In case your toddler is abruptly clingy after a major change, give them a number of weeks to settle into their new setting to see if it improves.

Household Elements

Parental stress and nervousness are related to elevated shyness and nervousness. Overprotective dad and mom foster toddler skepticism. Then, when these youngsters act nervous, the dad and mom grow to be much more overprotective.1 All dad and mom have nervousness about one thing, and nobody enjoys seeing their little one endure, however attempt to not allow them to decide up in your nervousness.

Marriage battle may also contribute to childhood shyness and nervousness. If you’re having bother with co-parenting, attempt having conversations out of earshot of your youngsters. In fact, this isn’t all the time attainable, however youngsters ought to imagine their dad and mom are in alignment with their targets and beliefs.2


You’re your little one’s major supply of consolation. If they don’t seem to be feeling nicely, it’s anticipated that they’d wish to be near the individual that makes them really feel higher. Give them further love, snuggles, and a spotlight till they get better. You received’t be “making a monster” or encouraging unfavorable habits by giving them what they want.

Disrupted Routine

Toddlers develop very accustomed to their habits and routines. As a result of I work in a college, I’m dwelling with my daughter in the summertime. In the course of the faculty yr, she acquired used to being with totally different caregivers at daycare whereas I used to be at work. In the summertime, her community of caregivers shrunk as a result of I spent much less time aside from her. She acquired used to being with Mother 24/7.

The week earlier than we moved, my husband and I went away for the weekend with out my daughter, leaving her together with her grandparents. Now we have left her together with her grandparents earlier than, however it had been some time. We returned from our temporary journey and moved the next week. There have been lots of disruptions in a brief interval to her common, predictable routine.

After a number of weeks within the new dwelling, she was nonetheless clingy however had began to regulate. She knew her means across the new home and the place her room and toys had been. She grew extra comfy venturing to seize a e-book or a toy on her personal. It would enhance as this dwelling and setting grow to be extra acquainted to her.

It’s tough to pinpoint the reason for toddler clinginess as a result of typically, many components are at play. We are able to do our greatest to maintain their days predictable and intention for adaptable and versatile youngsters. Mother and father are their little ones’ constants, so throughout occasions of change, they could maintain us tighter (actually!). Embrace and reassure them, understanding we’ll emerge on the opposite facet.

When Does Clinginess Begin?

Clinginess is a typical symptom of separation nervousness, which may seem and reappear anytime between six months by 2-4 years of age.1,3 A triggering occasion like those listed above may cause clinginess to start out or start seemingly randomly throughout the toddler years. A lot of the timing and circumstances of toddler clinginess are regular, however let’s take a better take a look at the standard attributes of a clingy toddler.

What’s Regular?

Whereas it might probably really feel suffocating, toddler clinginess is often regular and can go. In keeping with attachment concept, youngsters naturally crave and try for bodily closeness with their caregivers.2 This implies behaviors resembling clinging to your leg, eager to be held, sitting in your lap, and throwing tantrums once they can’t do these items are regular.

Most frequently, clinginess is a symptom of separation nervousness—the kid feels uneasy that you’ll depart them and causes that if they don’t let go of you, you can not depart. Separation nervousness begins between 6-22 months.1 Stranger nervousness may also spark clinginess, because the little one could also be fearful that you’ll depart them with this new individual. Stranger nervousness typically begins between 6-24 months.1

The CDC even consists of4 clingy behaviors of their milestone maps. At 9 months, infants must be “shy, clingy, or fearful round strangers.” At 18 months, your little one must be wanting to make sure you are shut by. Between 15-18 months, toddlers might throw tantrums if they don’t get their means, resembling when you’ll not or can’t cater to their clinginess. These tantrums are additionally thought-about regular and will reduce in period and frequency with rising age.

What’s Irregular?

It’s ordinary in your little one to wish to be near you or to cry if you depart; nonetheless, it might be irregular if they’re inconsolable during your absence, even within the presence of acquainted objects, snacks, music, and so on. Whereas separation nervousness in toddlers is regular, separation nervousness dysfunction is the acute model and isn’t thought-about customary. Separation nervousness dysfunction is characterised by excessive misery when the kid is away from their major caregiver.3 Some extra traits of an irregular diploma of toddler clinginess embody:

Frequency and Period

When questioning in case your toddler’s clinginess is irregular, contemplate how typically it occurs and the way lengthy it has been occurring. If the clingy episodes happen a number of occasions per day, day by day, for months versus days or even weeks, this is perhaps irregular. It would even be irregular if clinginess has not pale by faculty age, although some apprehension about beginning faculty within the youthful grades is regular.3

Interfering With Life

Any tantrum can briefly disrupt your day by day plans. Nonetheless, suppose your little one’s clinginess is stopping them from attending daycare, stopping you from ever leaving them, or interrupting their sleep. In that case, this can be an indication of a deeper downside or dysfunction.

Bodily Signs

Excessive clinginess and separation nervousness dysfunction can manifest with bodily signs whereas the kid is aside from a dad or mum.3 Some examples embody complications and stomachaches. We see this typically in school-aged youngsters who ceaselessly go to the varsity nurse. However, toddlers are sometimes unable to verbalize a bodily grievance. Search for indicators of ache resembling rubbing eyes, brow, or stomach, extreme crying, nausea, vomiting, or lack of urge for food.

Does It Make Sense?

In my case, I might attribute my toddler’s clinginess to a number of components that made sense. If the clinginess extends for a very long time, doesn’t look like getting higher, and has no instigating occasion, this may very well be irregular. Nonetheless, it’s developmentally acceptable for all toddlers to undergo a clingy part, even those that haven’t gone by a major change like a transfer or beginning a brand new daycare.

Extreme childhood shyness and clinginess can foreshadow adjustment issues later in life.1 Remedies can be found to assist with separation nervousness dysfunction, so should you suspect your little one is abnormally clingy, don’t hesitate to hunt assist.

Extra doubtless than not, your toddler’s clinginess is only a tough part that can go. If you’re involved that this habits is excessive, irregular, or has gone on for too lengthy, belief your instincts. In any case, dad and mom know their youngsters greatest and could possibly establish and acknowledge shyness and nervousness of their youngsters extra rapidly. Attain out to your pediatrician for steering, reassurance, or potential analysis.

Useful Tricks to Assist With Toddler Clinginess

If we reply appropriately to a toddler’s clinginess, we may help them by this stage and foster a extra strong and more healthy bond with our youngsters. Kids fear their caregivers will abandon or reject them and cling out of concern. If we will adequately guarantee them that we’ll return and aren’t leaving for good, they need to really feel safer and understood. Listed here are some suggestions to assist with toddler clinginess:

Be Delicate to Them

A delicate response to a toddler’s clinginess fosters safety within the parent-child relationship.2 Validate your little one’s emotions of eager to be shut. Strive saying one thing like, “I do know you need me to carry you. I really like being near you too. I’ve my palms full proper now, so how about you assist me by holding this? We are able to snuggle after I’m accomplished.”

Create and Follow a Routine

Acquainted routines are comforting and reassuring for toddlers. In the event that they know what to anticipate, they’ll doubtless be much less nervous, apprehensive, and subsequently much less clingy. When attainable, follow predictability and let your toddler know what to anticipate in conditions.

Apply Separation

Since toddler clinginess usually stems from a concern of abandonment, reassuring our youngsters that we’ll return is crucial. When leaving them with one other trusted caregiver, begin with small increments of time. Ease into your occasions aside, and your toddler will study that you’ll all the time come again for them.

Encourage Exploration

It’s pure for fogeys to fret; we’re most comfy when our youngsters are close to us and visual. Nonetheless, since toddlers feed off our nervousness, attempt to not present your nervousness once they enterprise off. As an alternative, you’ll be able to encourage them to verify one thing away from you. Simply be sure you are in a protected or baby-proofed setting.

Reward Their Independence

Younger youngsters thrive off reward. When your toddler reveals bravery and luxury being aside from you, touch upon it. Once they know that not solely are they protected with out you however are additionally making you proud and pleased, they’re extra prone to wish to do it once more. Nonetheless, if attainable, attempt to not pressure it. It’s best in the event that they resolve to enterprise from you on their very own.

Present Consolation Objects

Whenever you depart your little one with one other trusted caregiver, attempt to depart them with one thing acquainted or that reminds them of you. This generally is a picture, a stuffed animal, and even an article of clothes.

Toddler clinginess could be extremely irritating. It’s possible you’ll really feel like you’ll be able to’t get something accomplished together with your baby hooked up to your leg. Or it’s possible you’ll be uninterested in their cries if you put them down or depart them. Sadly, most toddlers undergo this, which is a traditional a part of little one growth. Take the toddler clinginess as a possibility to show to your little one that they’re protected with out you generally however that you’ll all the time return for them. It’s a robust part, however virtually all the time only a part. If dealt with appropriately with understanding, endurance, and beneficial suggestions, you and your toddler can grow to be stronger collectively and aside.


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