In Hampton Roads, we don’t get a lot of snow each year….if any at all. However, this week we got 10 inches! Needless to say, we were snowed in most of this week and still currently are snowed in. So this was the perfect time for me to spend time with my sweet 18 month old, work on a few household projects, and get some good family time in.
Yay for family time!
However, after three days, I feel like my hair has gone completely gray. Maggie has been so whiny and needy. I can’t get anything done without her flipping out.
She wants to be held.
She wants me to play in her tent with her.
She wants me to do puzzles her.
She wants to play a game on my phone (yeah, that’s right- my 18 month old has figured out how to use an I-Phone!)
What happened to the perfect snow day I was planning? Why is she so whiny? And let me just get the facts out on the table here…I am not neglecting this child. I play with her for the majority of the day! We play for an hour or so and then I work on a project for a little while. Then I go back to playing with her. That seems fair, right?
No! That is not fair to an 18 month old.
Maggie doesn’t want mommy to work on her project at all. She wants mommy to play with her every waking moment and do nothing else. And if I am not playing with her, she is getting into something she shouldn’t or whining and pulling on me.
Finally, today I had enough and we went outside in the snow and played for awhile. It was just Maggie and Mommy time. And it was wonderful!
She wasn’t whiny. She wasn’t clingy. She wasn’t needy.
It was glorious.
Then I brought her back in the house and it was time for her nap. So I took her up and we read books, we sang, and she gave me a million kisses. It was like she did a complete 180.
And of course, I felt terrible about being annoyed with her earlier.
That’s when it hit me…..
Maggie just wants my attention. The problem is that she wants my attention every second of every day…is that too much to ask?
So what do you do when your child wants your attention ALL THE TIME!?!
Here are a few thoughts:
1. Give them the attention they are craving.
I know, I stated the obvious. Seriously though, if they are acting like they need attention, they probably do. Take time to spend with your child. Play with them. Read to them. Bond with them. It is so worth it and way more important than that load of laundry that will get done eventually anyway.
2. Set a schedule.
This is especially good if you are a stay-at-home parent or if you are home all day on the weekends or on snow days:) Tell your child that you will play whatever they want for the next hour and then you need time to do some things around the house for a little while. Maybe even make a schedule on a piece of paper or a chalkboard and cross out each thing as the day goes on. This may help your child understand when you are doing something besides playing with them.
3. Set a timer.
If your child can hear a bell go off, they may recognize the schedule a little better…especially if they are young. When they hear the bell they know it’s time to spend time with mommy OR time with mommy is over for a little while and now they need to wait for the bell to go off again and then mommy will come back and play again.
4. Come up with some fun independent activities for your child.
Bring out the playdough, the crayons, the paint. Whatever it takes to keep your little one busy while you are doing your own thing. Note: If you bring out crayons or paint, make sure you keep an eye on them so there aren’t any mosaics on your walls!
5. Let your child be a part of your household projects.
One of my projects was to bake while I had the time. So I put an apron on Maggie and gave her a couple bowls of flour and let her dig in. She sat in the kitchen with me entertaining herself with a bowl of flour for a half hour! I know that doesn’t seem like a lot- but for my very active 18-month old…that is HUGE! Get your child involved in folding clothes, emptying the dishwasher, whatever the project is. This will also introduce chores in a fun way:)
The need for attention can be very frustrating, trust me!! However, with a little love and set boundaries, you and your child can get through it!
Remember to have fun with your child while they are young and you have the time…one day they will grow up and this will be reversed! 🙂