Thursday, 3 July 2014

Coping With A Clingy Toddler


This picture pretty much represents my life at the moment with Summer, in the last 6 weeks I've seen her go from a content, independent and happy baby that would go to anyone with out a fuss and didn't mind being put down and left for a minute with some toys to play with to a screaming, miserable clingy baby that holds on to me so tightly that I actually have nail marks on my arms.

It started at around 14 months old while we were away on holiday so I initially put it down to the fact that we were in an unfamiliar place plus she had a cold at the time. I thought that when we got home she would return back to normal but no such luck and now 6 weeks on I'm ready to peel her off me, run away and never come back.

I've found the last few weeks incredibly hard to cope with, I'm normally a very laid back person and I have a lot of patience with the kids but as the weeks have gone by my patience has been wearing thin and I've found myself snapping at both Riley and Summer over practically nothing. Don't get me wrong it's great to feel needed and I love that both of my children tend to favour me most of the time but sometimes it just get's too much. 

Summer won't allow my husband to do anything for her and that basically means he can't help me at all, obviously there's the option to just hand her over and let her cry until she gets over it but a) I can't bear to see her so upset and b) she doesn't get over it.

I'm the kind of person who needs some space, some time alone to just think and breathe and having Summer constantly clinging to me has actually made me feel quite claustrophobic at times, I spend my days counting down to her nap time and bed time so I can actually eat and go to the toilet without her screaming and clawing at me and I feel awful for feeling that way, I should be enjoying my beautiful girl not looking forward to getting away from her.

I've also noticed that her behavior is having an effect on my 3 year old son Riley, he's craving my attention and because I'm so overwhelmed with Summer I can't give him any at the moment so he has started to cry about things that he normally wouldn't cry about and carry on crying for an excessive amount of time (30-45 mins) I think he's doing this because he sees that Summer crying is getting my attention and is giving it a go himself. The fact that it's clearly upsetting Riley is also making me feel awful.

I've done a bit of research online and I've found out that it's completely normal for toddlers to suffer with separation anxiety at Summer's age and it will ease over time. It's actually a sign that you have a good relationship with your child as they trust you and feel safe and reassured with you, which makes me feel better.


So how do you cope with a clingy toddler while the phase runs it's course, here's a few tips that have helped me over the last few weeks.

  • Remember that this phase is completely normal and that as tough as it is right now it will get better with time.
  • Try to continue to leave them with family members or take them to day care as you normally would, it may be really hard to leave them while they're screaming and holding their hands out for you but as my mum told me as soon as I walked out of the door Summer stopped crying and was absolutely fine without me. 
  • If you are leaving them with someone else to look after them while you go out try to keep goodbyes short as the longer you take to leave them the more upset they will get.
  • If it all gets too much and you feel like you need a break but there's nobody around to help put your toddler somewhere safe and just have 5 minutes to breathe and calm down. An example of this was when Summer was screaming and even me holding her wasn't enough for her I got to a point where I couldn't handle anymore and I could feel myself getting annoyed with her so I took her up to her room and popped her in her cot where I knew she'd be safe, I went downstairs where I couldn't hear her and just sat for a few minutes to clear my head and calm down. After 5 minutes I went back up to get her and she had calmed down and was happily playing in her cot, I think we both just needed a time out.
  • If possible try to have a night or two off from them, a welcome break for me recently was a trip to London for BritMums Live. I was away for 2 nights and really enjoyed having some much needed me time and when I got back my husband said that Summer had been fine and not at all clingy, although as soon as she saw me she became clingy again but because I'd had a break I found it much easier to cope with.
After almost two months of full on clingyness Summer seems to be getting better (touch wood) and she'll hopefully be back to her happy and content self soon. If you're going through something similar with your little one at the moment I'd love to hear from you and hopefully this post has helped a few of you.



XXX

18 comments:

  1. I feel for you. My son is exactly the same at the moment (although almost 9 months old, not a toddler just yet!) It is so difficult, and exhausting.

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    1. It's not easy with a clingy child at any age :( It helps to know I'm not alone though :) xx

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  2. Having written a book about toddlers, I can confirm that yes, this is totally normal and one of those infuriating stages that the moment you know how to deal with it, she'll most likely grow out of. Although this is one of the few toddler stages that you won't see repeated when they're a teenager, so at least you know that when it's over, it's over.

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    1. Thank goodness for that Joanne, I don't want to go through this phase again. Thanks for commenting :) xx

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  3. I didnt have time to comment earlier, but I love this post.

    Tyne is exactly the same right now but his is aimed at both of us....so unless we are both with him he's not happy. If I`m in the room and Jon goes out, Tyne is inconsolable which drives me mad. And the same for Jon if I leave the room.

    Its nice to know its normal and it will end in time! xxx

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    1. Thanks Hayley! Glad to know it's not just Summer going through this at the moment :) xx

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  4. I feel so sorry for you. You must be exhausted. Thank you for all the tips Emma. #SundayBest xxx

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  5. I remember these stages well- they are so tiring. I think parenting is a funny old thing, so many periods of my life with my girls are defined into whether we are having a 'good' or 'bad' stage! x

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  6. Rufio is the same, he is so clingy and then E gets jealous and copies him, It's exhausting isn't it! I am so worried how he will manage away from me when I go back to work next week.
    Thanks for the brilliant tips
    xx

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  7. I feel your pain. My five year old went through a period like this, it was incredibly draining and difficult, but it did pass.

    #mmwbh

    http://fashion-mommy.com

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  8. They definitely go through phases like this! My 3 year old had a clingy phase just after xmas - wouldn't go to the childminder and screamed when left with daddy but randomly went quite fine into his swimming classes which up to that point he had hated! Lasted for about a month before we went back to normal. Its hard work but you just have to remember that it won't last forever!x #sharewithme

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  9. Def just a phase our middle dsughter was exactly the same and it soon passed :-)

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  10. This couldn't be a more PERFECT post for me right now. Missy Moo has been this smiley, happy, calm relaxed independent baby for a whole year I thought I had won the lottery (still do) but she has in the last month become so clingy I can't do anything without holding her. I feel one armed and my toddler wants my attention now more than ever and MM won't go to anyone else or let Gramma or Daddy help at all. I am the same I just want my normal girl back and some space I don't know what to do for her to help ease her anxiety because it stressed me out seeing her like that and while we are on vacation for so long all my family want to hold her and get to know her and she isn't allowing any of it. Makes for a long vacation for mommy. Can relate so much. We are in this together girl! Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

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  11. Totally agree with all of this. my eldest is out of the stage now but will have it all to come with my youngest #WeeklyWednesday

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  12. Its so hard isn't it? I think you're doing all the right things, although I would be tempted to let my husband take over just for a sanity check. Hope things get better soon x x

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  13. It's hard when it's so full on, isn't it? We didn't have separation anxiety until she was about 2 and a half and it mainly affects her at night, which means she's stopped sleeping through and is waking for cuddles, agh. I've also had stages through my pregnancy this time where I get to the end of the day and really don't want to be touched anymore! It sounds awful but I've spent all day fending off a toddler from jumping on the bump and just crave personal space. The thing is, I think she's been more clingy to me since I've been pregnant! I just repeat to myself often "It's all a phase..." - which doesn't help all that much! Hope the phase passes for you soon :) #weeklylinky

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  14. I really feel for you, I went through this with my youngest and it was so hard to get through. But it get's easier and suddenly they turn a corner, and the clingy-ness is a thing of the past. :) #sharewithme

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  15. popping over from the new #weeklylinky and thanks so much for joining in :) ah no really feel for you, C has had some moments but nothing compared to being actually clingy. I have been lucky! Some great tips and a great post!! mummy bloggers team x

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