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How to Deal With Attention-Seeking Toddlers?

Team AckoFeb 8, 2024

Is your toddler showing such behaviors which seeks to grab your attention? Just as a plant requires sunshine and water to grow, your toddler too needs your attention and care for him to grow and develop. But too much of a good thing can be bad, isn’t it?



If your child is an attention seeker then you will find that your kiddo will lack skills of empathy, sharing and teamwork in the near future. By now, you must be wondering if your child falls into this category and have you wrapped around his little finger through his attention-seeking behavior.

Have a look at the below statements and check all that apply to you:

Does your kiddo gets into constant power struggles with you over food, homework and even silly things, just to make him point?

Does your child cry or get clingy about many things because he knows you will stop whatever you are doing and run to comfort him?

Does your child throw temper tantrums or gets angry when he does not have his way?

Does your toddler always ask for your help even though he can do it herself? And do you end up doing it?

Does your little one rule the house with his drama? Do you have to constantly put his needs first (even over those of your other children?) just to maintain the peace at home?

If you have ticked even one of the above questions, you have a child who is indulging in negative attention-seeking behavior!

If you think that the situation is getting worst then you can also seek professional help. However, in most cases, you can patiently talk to your child about these underlying issues and then move on to the next steps.

How much attention is too much?

It totally depends on you. How much attention-seeking can you tolerate? Your kiddo will seek as much attention as you give him. You must strike a balance between how much your children want and how much you can give. Even normal attention-seeking can drive you crazy on some days.


When your toddler will not get enough attention, he might resort to outbursts, tantrums, nagging, teasing, and other annoying behaviors.

What are the three Kinds of attention?

Positive Attention - When you give your children attention and approval for being well behaved, they are getting positive attention. It can be a praise, hug, pat on the back or a kiss.

Negative Attention - When you give your child attention for misbehavior, you are giving negative attention. It can be in a form of punishment, threat, or interrogation.

No Attention - What is the easiest way to capture your attention - sitting quietly or misbehaving? It would be misbehaving so do not pay attention to misbehaviors.

How to respond to your child's bad behaviour?

Follow these tips to prevent and respond to the bad behaviour of your child:

1. Increase the positive attention provided especially at times when less attention is usually available (e.g., have him help with dinner preparations or praise him from a distance for playing nicely while you are busy changing his sister, etc.)

2. Do not give in to the attention-seeking ever. Ignore inappropriate behaviour used to get attention or to obtain something that was denied (when the behaviour is not aggressive or harmful to others). Once you start ignoring such behaviour he will learn that positive behaviour has a powerful payoff, while his negative behaviour is ineffective and therefore no longer necessary.

3. Teach your child to ask for what they want in a more appropriate way. If he is seeking attention, teach him to ask you for a hug, help, or a turn playing with you. If he wants an item, teach him to ask nicely. Always praise him whenever he asks you for attention or items appropriately, even when it may not be the best time.

4. Give your child your time Have a set time during the day that is just for you and your child/children. Turn off the phones, computers, and any other distractions and focus just on them. Be a kid again and play with your child. Make this time fun for him.

5. Avoid triggers for the behaviour, such as the word, “no.” Instead of telling your child what not to do tell him what to do (example, Ask nicely). Similarly, instead of telling him he can’t have something (“We are not playing with toys now”), tell him when the desired item will be available (“You can watch TV after dinner).

6. Repeat until the child gets it. Sometimes you have to repeat more than you think should be necessary. Do it until it becomes a pattern of interaction in your family’s life.

Two-minute action plan for fine parenting

When your kiddo starts seeking attention it is important to acknowledge him in the three forms- Remember, Respond, and Remove.

-Remember why he is acting this way which should help you to respond more gracefully.

-Respond by calmly letting your child know that his behaviour is not appropriate for the time.

-Remove the child from the situation for a moment until he calm downs if he does not respond to the warning.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, based on industry experience and secondary sources. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a qualified expert for health or insurance-related decisions. Content is subject to change, refer to current policy wordings for specific ACKO details.



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