Mommy, daddy, play with me! I can’t do it myself. See what I drew for you! We have all heard these familiar phrases- children’s cries for attention. Attention is one of the four goals of misbehavior in children. How do we meet the needs of our children, while not forfeiting everything else that needs tending to?
Children seeking attention, will frequently bother others, at times to the point of annoyance or frustration. They show off and brag. Their inappropriate behavior can even involve minor acts of mischief. In school they may be labeled the class clown or teacher’s pet. All-in-all these children are described as needy.
Children like this believe they only count when they are in the spotlight. Without the attention of others, they feel they have no place in the family. They may act shy, using “I can’t” as an excuse. Being messy, whiney, lazy, or loud in an effort to get people to pay attention to them is a common occurrence.
Even the best-behaved children may be starved for attention, needing to be acknowledged for academic or athletic achievements.
What are the best ways to halt attention seeking behavior?
- Give your child attention- especially at times when they are not doing anything to get attention. Thank you for putting your shoes on the first time I asked. I really love how your smile brightens up the room.
- Have special times during the day, where the child can be the sole focus of your positive attention. It doesn’t have to be long- a story before bed or a board game before dinner.
- Then, once a week have a date out, just the two of you. Take a walk around the park or visit to the library.
- During family meals, allow every member of the family a chance to talk and be heard by each other. Utilize topics such as things you are grateful for or one thing you did to help someone else that day. When the child has something to contribute, make sure other family members listen respectfully.
- Puzzles or cooperative games, such as Race to the Treasure, Max, or Dinosaur Escape nurture attention seeking kids. I have also included below a list of books for children whose goal of misbehavior is attention, that includes Noisy Nora and Bossy Flossy.
If possible, get on the child’s level when they are talking- kneel down or both sit on a chair.
Encourage your child when they are not asking for attention- You are playing so nicely by yourself. Thank you for waiting respectfully until I was finished with my phone call. Continue the encouragement to give positive attention, focusing on effort or progress- You are trying hard to figure that out yourself
Attention seeking children can push us to the limit, but if we give them a little of our time, the rewards can be great.
If you feel your child needs extra assistance, contact me to discuss ways I can help.
Race to the Treasure https://amzn.to/3xcAT13
Dinosaur Escape https://amzn.to/3gmDH4D
Noisy Nora https://amzn.to/3pHpB2k
Bossy Flossy https://amzn.to/3is7SKp
Cookie, the Walker https://amzn.to/3g4DK6v
Shrinking Sam https://amzn.to/2TcG6aa
Edie’s Ensembles https://amzn.to/3g4tWcF