How do I gently push my daughter towards independance?

Nellie - posted on 08/14/2011 ( 8 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 14 months old and is extremely clingy, to the point where it is 100% ridiculous. I guess I'll start on how I've tried to handle it. I don't believe in allowing your baby to cry it out under 6 months, but that doesn't mean that I was constantly holding her 24/7 back then. I've always tried to gently push my daughter towards independence. I would put her down, get her interested in a toy, and then walk away to dishes. When she cried, I would come back. I did this several times a day. When she hit 6 months, I would explain to her, Mommy is going to go do dishes, I need to clean so we have clean dishes to eat off. And as soon as I was done doing what I needed to do I'd come back and tell her that I finished doing what I needed to do, and now I'm back. It hasn't helped. She's still insanely clingy. She doesn't want to walk around, she wants me to carry her. And I do comfort her and carry her around and play with her, but at least 3 times a day, I tell her she needs to play by herself. And she screams, and screams, and screams, and screams. I don't know what to do. She's absolutely amazing with babysitters, she has no problem me leaving at all. But if I'm in the same building as her, even if someone else is playing with her, she'll scream bloody murder. Any ideas as to how I can GENTLY push her towards independence?

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Diane - posted on 08/14/2011

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Nellie you probably did not do anything,your daughter loves you and wants to be with you.before you know it she will be very independent,my youngest now will sit in the livingroom knowing i am in the bedroom and yell to me,if I do not answer she yells louder,if I do answer she quiets down at least for a little while,,then she will yell to me again to make sure i have not left my room,then make sure daddy is at his desk! my oldest is at the point where as long as she knows we are ok she doesnt care,the youngest is 2,the oldest is 4 and i have a 3 year old son....but we are fortunate that they are close together and i think it helps some with the clinging....It sounds like you are a great mom and doing the right things...

[deleted account]

My daughter was like that for the longest time and even now at almost 2 can be a little like that at times. Any time I tried to push her a little just made her worse. She's just growing out of it at her on pace, I guess some kids just need their mommy a little more than others. Around twelve months was really tough, despite the fact that she was used to me working in the mornings. Separation Anxiety is normal and I'd just wait it out if I were you. Letting her help you might work pretty well (though messy when it comes to dishes...), also really taking your time when you set her up with something, preferrably close to where you are working (like painting a picture at a table close to you). I know it's a pain and time-consuming when you have 'one of those', but it'll pass all by itself without you pushing her.

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Vicky - posted on 08/16/2011

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P.S that's what I try to do and my house is usually a wreck, so now I explain to my husband that the house being a wreck is just a phase!

Vicky - posted on 08/16/2011

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My mother would advise me to cherish this phase and know it will soon pass into another challenging phase. Soon they will drive off in their own car with friends. I think we're suppose to take comfort in knowing it's a phase, but I understand how hard it must be. Count to 10 and put her to bed early enough to do your cleaning at night while she's sleeping... U know... when ur exhausted. Lol

Elfrieda - posted on 08/14/2011

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My son was a bit like this. I couldn't get anything done while he was awake unless someone else was around (even the cat helped), and I developed carpal tunnel in my wrists (I think) because I was holding him all the time, and he's no lightweight!

Finally now at 20 months he will play by himself for a bit, and understands that I won't carry him everywhere. He still needs lots of eye contact and likes to stand on a chair so that he can see what I'm doing. On the plus side, he doesn't run away in crowds of people like some kids do!

I agree with you, independence is a good thing, but teaching it gently is the best way to go.

Nellie - posted on 08/14/2011

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I do take her with me to the same room as I am working, as long as it's safe. My kitchen is small so when I'm cooking it's too dangerous with all the splatters of the spaghetti sauce and such. It doesn't make a difference if she's right next to me, she still screams for me to hold her and play with her. I don't know what I've done to make her so clingy, but whatever it is, I just wish there'd be a way to fix it. It's not that I mind holding her every minute of the day. I want her to be independent and I want her to be able to play by herself when I'm busy, I think independence, within reason, is an important thing to have.

Emma - posted on 08/14/2011

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She sounds like my son was, I found you cant push as it just makes it worse.
What ended up working was making him come everywhere with me he could be into playing with something and i would make him leave it there and come to the loo with me or to the kitchen to due the dishes, after a couple of months he started to wounder out the kitchen back to his toys, he would come back and check i was where he left me a lot but over time when i held out my hand for him to come with and say come help mom wash up he would refuse as he would rather play.

Diane - posted on 08/14/2011

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Have you tried having her in the same room that you are working in so that you can talk to her and she can see you? Other then that it sounds like you are doing all the right things to get her on her own,,,she may be senseing something you are not too and it could be causing her a 'fear' of being away from you,,,but that doesnt really makes sense if she will go to a sitter....my kids were born very independant, therefor I have the opposite problem you do,plus I am disabled which makes it harder still...but with my oldest i would take her hand and walk her to the kitchen she would sit on the floor playing and we would sing songs and such while I cleaned....hope this helps...

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