Attention Seeking Behaviour What To Do & Not Do About It

Does your toddler's attention seeking behaviour drive you up the wall?

Before you tear your hair out, read on for some vital information to help you cope with this extremely common problem.

Discipline...

Distraction Techniques...

What Exactly Is Attention Seeking Behaviour?

The answer is any behaviour that happens to make you give your child your full attention.

Obvious, isn't it?

Maybe so, but have you ever asked yourself why they want a parental captive audience?

It is astounding how many parents fail to understand that grabbing your attention is a specific strategy that your child uses for very specific reasons.

What Causes It

Toddlerhood is a time of huge developmental changes. As adults, we are quick to talk out our stress - 'I'm under such pressure at work with my new promotion...we're moving house - what a nightmare!' etc etc.

Young children don't know how to express it, but they too are under stress, albeit a different kind.

The experience of developing

are all really hard work for any toddler. All this happens in such a short space of time. And let's not forget that children of this age have absolutely zero life experience to fall back on when they slip up.

Who or what do we adults turn to when we are stressed?


For adults, there is a wide variety of comfort to choose from - a sympathetic friend, a night under the duvet with a good film, chocolate, wine, parenting web sites - it's all there at our fingertips.

Q: Who do toddlers turn to for comfort?

A: You.

Why Telling Off Does Not Work

Now you know that this behaviour has a very understandable cause, keeping this in mind is really important. There is no point getting angry with your child when s/he starts playing up for the sake of it.

Because, guess what?

Losing your temper, shouting or spanking will all backfire and make the problem worse.

Your toddler is learning from you, so every reaction from you is recorded by your child, to be copied at a later date. So if you lash out, they will do the very same, except you will think they are being naughty, when infact they are copying you.


Fortunately there is a much more effective strategy at your disposal for attention seeking behaviour: ignore your toddler's Oscar winning performance.

Go to ignoring problem behaviour for full details. There are lots of ideas on this page that will make both you and your child more happy and confident together.

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