19 - 21 Months

How can you encourage your toddler to be less clingy? 

As your toddler ventures out into the world, they may need lots of reassurance. Clinging to you at a birthday party or play group is a sign that they’re seeking an internal sense of security and safety.

Physical check-ins can help your toddler gain the courage and confidence to explore. They may want to sit in your lap or be picked up at first. Once they’re ready to venture off, they may return to you or make eye contact from afar to ensure you’re still there.

As someone that they trust, you are their secure base, a place that they can come back to as often as needed. At times, this may feel a bit frustrating—maybe you’re craving some adult time or feel embarrassed that your toddler is the only one not joining the group. In these moments, by staying close and being a calm, steady presence, you’re actually helping your toddler learn to become more independent in the future. 

If your toddler moves away, then stops, turns, and looks up at you and smiles, you can make eye contact and say, “I see you!” That’s often enough to reassure them that you’re watching and they’re safe ❤️ The more your toddler knows that you’re reliably available, the more confident they’ll likely be.

Learn more about the research

Gunnar, M. R., & Cheatham, C. L. (2003). Brain and behavior interface: Stress and the developing brain. Infant Mental Health Journal, 24(3), 195-211.

Waters, E., Crowell, J., Elliott, M., Corcoran, D., & Treboux, D. (2002). Bowlby’s secure base theory and the social/personality psychology of attachment styles: Work (s) in progress. Attachment & Human Development, 4(2), 230-242.


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Posted in: 19 - 21 Months, 22 - 24 Months, Social Emotional, Independence, Lovevery App, Parenting, Child Development

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