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How to Give Your Clingy Child the Confidence to Step out of Your Shadow

It’s common for young children to display clingy behavior, but it can be challenging for family members to deal with. Luckily, parents can learn how to deal with a clingy toddler or child. These social skills below will give your kid a confidence boost, and help them out of the clingy phase.

I got used to my daughter crying like I fled the country every time I used the bathroom alone.

Carrying her around while trying to do household chores became commonplace.

Also, I understood why she clung to me like a leach when I tried to drop her off at day care. Those were long days apart from each other.

When my little girl was almost three years old we had a new baby, and the whole thing only intensified. The periodic clinginess transformed into permanent shadow mode.

When I noticed by clingy toddler missing out on experiences, such as not leaving my side at social events or sitting on my lap during a play date, I realized I needed to try to intervene.

To be honest, I was a little mentally exhausted, but I was more concerned with her.

Related: Importance of Sports for Kids

How to Deal with a Clingy Toddler or Kid

Having clingy children is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a strong sign that your child has a beautiful and secure attachment to you. Your child feels comfortable around you.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) explains that separation anxiety and the clingy stage rarely persists on a daily basis after early childhood.

However, with a little extra support, there are different ways to help young kids gain the confidence to step into the light and thrive and grow.

Related: How to Help When Your Child Cries All the Time

1) Understand You are Their Secure Base

You are the tree trunk and your child is a branch. Although they are growing, they still feel comfort knowing you are close by.

When there is a significant change in your child’s life (such as a new sibling or a new situation), it is expected to see some extra clinginess.

You are their safe haven in life.

It can be frustrating to never have a moment alone, but getting upset with your child won’t make them feel any different.

Instead, make sure you take time out of the day to focus and give your child your undivided attention. Remind yourself that your child is not being a bad kid, they just need to feel connected to you, and this is normal.

Try this method to make your kid feel notably special in under 10 minutes a day.

2) Provide New Experiences for Growth

Any new experience you can give your child, will give them the confidence and new skills to try new things.

Frequent adventures can help kids learn who they are – what they love and what they don’t like.

Try taking your child:

  • On hikes
  • To parks
  • Visit to a museum
  • On an outing to a sporting event

Don’t get frustrated if you bring them somewhere new and they are slow to let go of your hand. They will step away when they feel ready and comfortable and this may take some time.

You may also like: How to Encourage Shy Kids to Try New Things

3) Look for Confidence Booster Opportunities

Sometimes, seemingly simple tasks such as meeting someone new at a social gathering can be a big deal for your child.

Also, chore charts and other daily routines at home are a great way to boost their self-worth and teach them what it means to be a bigger part of the family.

Pay attention to these accomplishments, and tell your child how proud of them you are.

This simple meditation exercise is proven to help boost confidence.

4) Gently Introduce Them to New People and New Places

I remember getting frustrated when we would go someone new with my daughter and she would be visibly stressed and miserable.

Nothing is scarier for a clingy child than being thrust into a new place surrounded by new people.

Gently transition your child into a new place with these tips:

  • Allow them to bring a older siblings or friend with them
  • Do they have a special toy them love? Make sure to bring it along!
  • What is your child’s favorite game? Can you get other kids to join in with him or her?

Allow your child as much time as they need to acclimate to their new surroundings.

You may also like: 3 Ways to Help Kids with Meltdowns and Tantrums

5) Watch for Something More Serious

Anytime we are talking about a child’s mental state, is is critical to touch on what to watch for.

Is your child’s clinginess a sign of something more serious?

Trust your gut. If you feel that your child has social delays or emotional issues reach out to the pediatrician or a clinical psychologist.  

For example, separation anxiety disorder (SAD) is a type of mental health problem.

A child with SAD spends a lot of time worrying about being away from famiy. The child has a fear of being lost from their family or of something bad occurring to a family member if he or she is not with the person.

Watch for signs of something more serious, including:

  • Not sleeping in their own bed
  • Refusing to go to school
  • Frequent stomachaches, headaches, or other physical complaints
  • Lots of worry when parted from home or family

The bottom line is, while these symptoms can be normal from time to time, if you notice that it is impacting your child’s mental health, it is time to seek help.

Related: How to Talk Kids Through Scary Situations and World Events

Final Thoughts on How to deal with a clingy toddler

When we started following these 5 simple tips, we saw a major shift in our daughter.

Although she still, at the age of 8 years old, wants to be around us a lot she loves to play sports, visit friends, and go to school.

These tips helped me guide her to stop being my shadow and grow into the beautiful and unique little girl she is today.

For more tips on raising kids who are healthy at home and strong in the world, follow us on Facebook.

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Make Your Kids Feel Special in Under 10 Minutes a Day - Simply Rooted Family

Saturday 9th of April 2022

[…] may also like: How to Give Your Clingy Kid Confidence to try new […]

Jasmine Martin

Friday 25th of February 2022

This is so important. I know I was a clingy child and my mom definitely applied a lot of these when I was a kid.

Jenjen Balatico

Friday 25th of February 2022

"Gently Introduce Them to New People and New Places" - this is by far I guess the most effective way to do this.

Christian Foremost

Thursday 24th of February 2022

I used to be this kid and i think for family gatherings, i still am!!! I’m scared of my relatives so i hang with my parents lol. But i totally agree that these tips are helpful giving you kid confidence!


Thursday 24th of February 2022

Ooohh! As moms, we should make the most out of it! They grow up so fast and will not let us kiss them anymore LOL! But if its over clingy gestures, we just need to explain that sometimes they should be independent and strong etc. They listen especially when they feel the love.

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