Q&A: Why does my two-year-old constantly need attention?
My daughter is 27 months old and an only child. She is also the first grandchild on both sides. She has progressively gotten worse about playing by herself. She always seems to want my husband or me with her, taking our hands and leading us to sit with her wherever she is. She does this throughout the day, regardless of what we are in the middle of doing.
She has visitors (two sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, ...etc.) on a weekly basis and I'm wondering if this has lead to her behavior. As a baby she was much better about playing on her own. She is doted on and adored, but I'm worried that all the attention may be causing this issue.
My other concern is, do I push her to play on her own (I've been trying hard to encourage it), or do I nurture this need for her to have company/attention? It is obviously very draining on my husband and even more so on me (I'm a full-time stay-at-home mom.) Her constant need for attention makes me feel like I am constantly telling her, "Not right now," or "In a minute."
This makes me feel terrible and seems to make her need for attention even worse. Please help!
The way a toddler behaves is the outcome of many influences; her personality and temperament, her stage of development and what she learns to expect from others, to name a few. While she may have learned to expect a lot of attention from the adults around her, this doesn’t mean that she is “spoiled,” or even that this is abnormal. A year from now, she may not have this need to always have someone around.
Instead of trying to guide her away from the need for company, consider working with that need but broadening her social contacts to include other toddlers. A neighborhood playgroup would give both you and her a chance to be with peers. Even though she may just play alongside other toddlers at this age and not with them, most two-year-olds love being with other toddlers and get a lot out of the experience.
Still, if you are feeling drained by her demands on you (and it’s understandable and normal) you can pay attention to your own needs and still be a great mother. Probably the easiest way to get uninterrupted time is to schedule it–arrange for someone else to be in charge on a regular basis and spend that time your way, without guilt. It’s amazing how refreshing regular time out can be. It lets you “recharge” for the demands of being home.