Q&A: My 10-month-old girl is very clingy. Is this normal?
My 10-month-old girl is very clingy. She will not play with her toys alone and always wants company. She follows me wherever I go, never letting me out of sight for more than a few minutes. How can I get her to be more independent?
The short answer to your question is that she’ll get more independent over time on her own.
The longer answer has to do with separation anxiety, which is what she is going through. This is a normal phase in the emotional development of an infant, which usually starts in the last half of the first year. From her behavior, you know a few things about her. First, that she can now discriminate between the familiar and unfamiliar people in her world. Second, that she has developed a trusting, positive attachment to you (well done!). And, lastly, that she doesn’t yet feel enough independence to go without the security of your presense.
At 10 months, your daughter has very little sense of time, so when you leave, she can’t reassure herself that you’ll be back soon. The intensity and duration of this normal behavior depends, in part, on her temperament, but, any stress usually makes the clinginess worse. (Has there been a stressful event in her life lately?)
However, it’s also normal for you to sometimes feel crowded, and there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a long shower or a well-deserved night out without feeling guilty. When you are with your daughter, let her have your attention and affection. When it’s your time, take it without guilt or ambivalence. If leaving her with a sitter, wait until she is distracted, say goodbye, and leave. Even if you hear the crying as you walk away, going back only sets the stage for another anxious departure. Most children stop crying after a few minutes. If you have to be in a separate room from her, and she is in good hands, know that a short separation does no harm. Eventually, stranger anxiety fades and is replaced by a new phase of greater independence.