Toddlerhood is a time when a vast amount of growth and development occur. It is also a time when most kids are clingy. While toddler clinginess can be upsetting for parents, it’s important to understand that this is a normal part of development.

Toddlers become clingy because they have built secure connections to their parents. So, the next time your toddler becomes clingy, there’s no need to be upset or exasperated.

How to manage a clingy toddler?

Try these helpful tips to handle the behavior of your clingy toddler.

Do not punish or ignore their clingy behavior

Managing your response to your toddler’s clingy behavior is important. Instead of ignoring, punishing them or allowing yourself to get upset, go back to the reason behind their behavior. Always remember that their clinginess is an indication of your child’s attachment to you. It’s not something any parent should hold against their kids.

The best thing to do is to give them the assurance they need. If you have to leave them to another caregiver, assure them you will come back. Give them a warm embrace and keep your goodbyes brief.

Understand how they feel and empathize with them

Making your child feel that they are understood can help them calm down. Let them know you recognize their feelings by showing empathy. For example, you can say something like “I wish I could stay with you right now and watch your favorite cartoon together, but I have to leave for work. I promise to do it tonight as soon as I get home.” Letting your little one feel how much you want to be with them can mean so much. It can give them the confidence that you’ll be coming back for them.

Encourage independence

Toddlers tend to be less clingy the moment they start gaining self-confidence. You can help build that confidence by giving them opportunities to perform tasks on their own. For example, you can assign simple household activities like making their bed, making their snacks, putting away their toys, etc. You can also ask them to help around the house.

Knowing they are able to do something independently and are able to contribute can make them feel more comfortable on their own.

Don’t forget to praise them

Praising your children for finishing tasks independently can help boost their self-esteem and independence. It will further encourage self-sufficiency which will help reduce clinginess. So whenever they exhibit positive behaviors or progress towards independence, be sure to take time to praise them. It’s also a good idea to give rewards at times to encourage good behavior.

Spend time with others

Instead of letting your toddler getting used to only you, it is better if you give them the opportunity to be with other people. One of the reasons why children refuse to leave their parents’ side is because they don’t feel comfortable being around other people, especially in an unfamiliar environment. But you can reduce the chances of meltdowns by gradually allowing them to be comfortable in the presence of other people.

Try to schedule a regular visit to grandma and grandpa. Or have a weekly playdate routine. Getting them outside their comfort zone is an excellent way to ease them into being comfortable with others.

Give them the chance to express their own feelings

It’s never easy for kids to deal with their feelings, especially when they don’t understand them. Getting over their clingy behavior does not happen overnight. Give your little one the chance to embrace their emotions. It is part of their growth and development. Every child goes through the same phase but they will eventually outgrow it. The best thing parents can do is to assure them they are loved and understood no matter what.

Nobody says dealing with a clingy toddler is easy. It is tough but there are several ways to better handle it. Use these helpful tips to help build your child’s confidence even when you’re apart.


If you need more tips on parenting or are looking for the best childcare for your little one, please feel free to visit The Pillars Christian Learning Center.