Clinging onto a parent in a strange situation is a common behavior among all children into adolescence. The clinging is a child’s natural response to uneasiness. While seeking refuge in the arms of a caregiver, positive chemicals are released into the brain producing secure feelings of well-being.
It’s important to understand that constant clinging is not an act your baby does with naughty intentions. He is feeling unsafe for one reason or another, and needs reassurance from you. To combat constant clinging, prepare your child for any potentially scary, or new, situations. It’s important to talk through the situation, then once there, be attentive and receptive to your child’s fears and needs.
Whatever you do, DO NOT try to drop your child off and sneak away when they’re not looking. This will create unnecessary fear and anxiety in an already scary situation. Before leaving, it’s important to shower your child with love and affection and explain that you will be back soon. At the same time, don’t prolong the goodbye. Focus in being short, sweet and reassuring. This is a time for trust building, so make sure you are receptive to your child’s fears at all times.
Eager to please and impress you, you may have already noticed your toddler trying to be ‘helpful.’ While his helpfulness may lead to bigger messes. and simple tasks turning into difficult and frustrating ones, it’s important for your toddler’s development that you stand aside and let him try.
Having the responsibility to complete simple tasks helps children develop a sense of independence and accomplishment. Not to mention, the huge self-esteem boost when he hears your cheering for his accomplishment.
Your toddler’s desire to help will not last forever, so use this time to incorporate helpful habits that will last a lifetime. Show him the importance of a clean room, tidy toys, and other activities that you normally do that he can accomplish on his own. If you notice him struggling to complete the task, offer a helping hand, but don’t take over altogether. The goal is to get your toddler used to helping around the house, or at the very least, cleaning up after himself (finally!)
Mastering picking up a small item with a precise finger and thumb grasp is a huge step towards independence, including the ability to self-feed, self-dress, and eventually write his name and brush his teeth..
A good time to let your baby practice this is when he’s in his highchair. Small cereal pieces, such as Cheerios, are the perfect size to help your baby master this precise grasp. It will take quite a bit of practice on his part, but once mastered, he will be able to maneuver his toys like never before!
Make sure to remove all choking hazards, since food will not be the only thing your baby will use that handy pincer grasp to get into his mouth.
Babies respond best to parents who make eye contact with them. Always get your baby’s attention before talking to them or playing games. Your baby needs your help so he can begin to develop a love of language. When you make eye contact and talk to him about his world, you are teaching him new words. It is a crucial way to develop language and bond at the same time.
Sit in a comfy chair with baby swaddled in your arms. Speak his name and get his attention. He won’t understand the words but he does know your voice. Keep the eye contact- talk to him, coo and sing. Talk about things in his world. Tell baby a story using your animated voice. Keep his attention by smiling, telling him how important he is, and how much he is loved.