Why does my child like to be where I am?

When they’re at home young children want to be near their parents. While the intensity of need varies with age and personality, children, especially between the ages of fifteen months and three years, are usually most content playing and exploring when their parents are close by.

Young children like to be with their parents much of the time, day and night. Often, parents find that their child has an easier time falling asleep if they stay with him patting his back or keeping him company. In the uneasy moments before sleep, he gains comfort when they are near.

His desire to be with his parents is normal, and the attention he receives from them is essential for his development. As he comes to understand that they are there even when he can’t see them, and that every time they go away they come back, he begins to feel secure and trusting. Gradually, based on these feelings of trust, he’ll develop the ability and desire to separate from his parents.

Waiting for that separation to occur, however, can be frustrating for parents who would like more time to themselves. They don’t often have a chance to be alone at home, especially when they’re followed by a young child who won’t let them out of his sight. And at times, a child who stays close by his parents can be an embarrassment in public or when other adults are visiting.

A baby will indicate his need for closeness by reaching out to be picked up. When he can crawl, he’ll follow his parents’ voices and crawl to be near them. Later as a toddler, he’ll often carry his toys from room to room to be with his parents. And although at three or four years old he may spend time at school, day care, or a neighbor’s house, he’ll still prefer to be near his parents when he’s home. Children, like adults, want company-especially the company of their own families.

When your child wants to be with you, try to be understanding and accommodate him when possible, knowing that this stage of hi development normal. When you need time for yourself at home, try distracting him with an interesting puzzle, book, or box of toys that he hasn’t seen for a while. You also can invite one of his playmates for a visit. When your preschooler has friends over, he may play happily without having you nearby; if the children are old enough to play safely without close supervision, you can have some time to yourself.

If you’re having adult guests over, try to anticipate your child’s need for attention. Suggest he draw pictures for the visitors to take home. Place some interesting toys next to your seat so he can play nearby without having to involve you. Such diversions work, but it’s unrealistic to expect him to leave you entirely alone. If you exclude him, he may become demanding, silly, or whiney. But if you partially include him, focusing attention on him at least some of the time, you should be able to talk to your guests without too much interruption.

As he reaches the early elementary years, he’ll spend more and more time playing with friends or occupying himself in his room, and less time with you. One mother, whose seven-year-old always stayed close to her when he was a preschooler, was surprised to find herself greatly wishing he’d spend more time with her now.

Picture Credit : Google