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Top 5 Signs Your Child Needs Your Attention

As parents, we strive to meet our children's needs, but sometimes it can be challenging to understand exactly what they need from us. Children often communicate their needs in subtle ways that can easily be missed if we're not paying attention. Here are the top 5 most common signs your child gives when they need your attention, along with tips on how to respond to each one.

1. Seeking Physical Contact

Sign: Your child seeks physical closeness, such as wanting to sit on your lap, holding your hand, or giving you hugs.

Example: Your child comes up to you while you're working and asks to sit in your lap.

Solution: Set aside some special time each day for physical closeness, such as cuddling during storytime or snuggling before bed. This helps your child feel secure and loved while creating a routine that can be beneficial to you and your child.

2. Behavior Changes

Sign: Your child's behaviour suddenly changes, such as becoming more clingy, irritable, or withdrawn.

Example: Your usually cheerful child becomes tearful and easily frustrated.

Solution: Try to find out what's causing the change in behaviour by talking to your child. Spend some one-on-one time together doing something they enjoy to help them feel more secure. If your child does not talk or does not want to talk about it, just being around might give him or her a sense of security and stability. It can eventually lead your child to open up or the behaviour problem can even solve itself.

3. Attention-Seeking Behaviors

Sign: Your child starts exhibiting attention-seeking behaviours, such as interrupting your conversations, acting out, or doing something they know is not allowed.

Example: Your child starts jumping up and down while you're talking on the phone.

Solution: Acknowledge your child's feelings and let them know you'll give them your full attention once you're done. Set aside specific times each day when you can give them your undivided attention. If not handled properly, attention-seeking behaviours tend to grow and become hard to deal with. Next Gen recommends addressing these ASAP as they tend to evolve if you just redirect them or do not handle them properly.

4. Changes in Sleeping or Eating Habits

Sign: Your child's sleeping or eating habits change, such as having trouble sleeping or suddenly losing their appetite.

Example: Your child starts waking up frequently during the night.

Solution: Create a calming bedtime routine to help your child relax before bed. We recommend creating sleep hygiene routines, such as story time, white noise, a warm shower/bath before bedtime, mindfulness activities and similar.

As for eating habits, make mealtimes a positive and enjoyable experience by eating together as a family and offering a variety of healthy foods, with joyful conversations and laughter.

5. Expressing Emotions

Sign: Your child expresses their emotions exaggeratedly or intensely, such as crying uncontrollably or having tantrums.

Example: Your child starts crying when you tell them it's time to stop playing and get ready for bed.

Solution: Help your child learn to express their emotions healthily by talking to them about how they're feeling and teaching them coping strategies, such as deep breathing or counting to ten. Labelling feelings also helps your child to understand what is what. If your child is showing anger, talk about anger. Print labels with images or draw on a board or piece of paper. Using emojis on your phone also helps your child to understand the emotions and facial features.

By paying attention to these signs and responding appropriately, you can strengthen your bond with your child and help them feel secure and loved.

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