Does your child continually ask you to play? Does he want you to pay attention to him when you are immersed in other tasks? Does he show you everything he does?
These are some of the strategies that children use to get noticed and get your attention. This is quite common behavior as it is the way they claim your company while validating their self-confidence. However, when these claims become more frequent and even resort to negative behaviors in order to get your attention, it could be a sign that something is wrong.
Why does your child demand your attention all the time?
Parents are the perfect audience for the little ones at home. Hence, it is normal for them to demand your attention so that you take a look at their finished drawing or so that you see them while they run at full speed. That attention makes them feel more secure, which is essential for their emotional development as children grow.
However, there are times when this demand for attention can intensify because the little ones need to feel especially supported and reinforce their self-confidence.
Situations such as a move, a change of school, school problems or the arrival of a sibling can become the trigger for this type of claim by children. It is the way that some little ones convey that they need to feel supported and they need more time with their parents.
In other cases, the claim for attention is due to a more complex problem. Sometimes behind this behavior can hide an insecure child who continually needs the guidance and approval of adults to feel confident.
At other times, it may be related to a heavy reliance on external judgment. It happens especially when the little one has not developed her critical thinking and needs the approval of those around her.
However, there are also times when the children’s continual claiming is a consequence of the parenting style. An overly permissive parenting style, in which there are no clear limits, can lead children to feel like they are the center of the universe and behave as if everything had to revolve around them.
However, betting on a style that is too authoritarian or overprotective, in which the little ones do not have enough autonomy, is not better.
In these cases, children will demand parental attention because they have not learned to do things on their own and need their parents’ approval at every step they take to know that they are on the right track.
However, there is another cause that we often overlook and that may also be causing the excessive demand for attention in children: lack of time.
Do you spend enough time with your children? Do you pay enough attention to them? When children do not feel sufficiently cared for, they will look for ways to get the parents’ attention in any way to get all the time they aren’t giving them. If you are working mothers here are some tricks how to spend time with children.
How to act when your child continually demands your attention?
Faced with the continuous demand of their children, many parents are committed to immediately attending to their demands.
However, this can sometimes be counterproductive because when children get used to having their wishes met in the moment, the demands can become requirements and the demand for attention turn into a tantrum due to frustration.
Obviously, the solution is not to ignore children either. In these cases, children can feel rejected and marginalized, which will dent their self-esteem.
The best solution is to cover their needs, but not immediately. In this way, we will not only be teaching them to regulate their behavior but also to develop their tolerance for frustration.
However, this cannot become a long-term solution, it is also important to address the causes that are causing this reaction in children and make them feel more secure and confident. Here are some strategies that can help you.
1. Practice positive attention
Most of the times we tend to pay more attention to the negative behaviors of children than to the positive ones.
However, if we were to shift the focus of attention to children’s positive behaviors and start rewarding them, we would not only reinforce them, but also inhibit negative behaviors by not paying attention to them.
In addition, it is very easy to put into practice since a few simple words of encouragement, a congratulations, a hug or a handshake is enough to let the children know that they are on the right track.
2. Dedicate enough time to them
Children not only need our attention but also our time. They need us to play with them, listen to what they have to say and spend time with them.
Therefore, spend at least half an hour a day walking with your children in the park, enjoying their favorite pastime or listening to how their day at school has gone.
And while you’re doing it, keep your phone, TV, or any other device off. Focus all your attention on that moment and make your children feel that they are the most important thing for you at that moment.
3. Show them your affection
It is not enough to love children, it is also important to show them our love every day. After all, you don’t have to have a reason to tell your kids how much you love them.
Therefore, do not get tired of telling him and make sure you fill your days with small tokens of affection. A hug, a nice note or a small gift made with your own hands, any gesture is valid to make your children feel loved and learn to value the small details of life from an early age.
Finally, don’t forget the importance of teaching children to express their needs assertively. Provide them with some relaxation techniques to help them manage their anger and strategies to develop a higher tolerance for frustration. This way you will not only be teaching them to regulate their behavior, but you will be preparing them for the future.