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Why Does She Cling To Me?

Sometimes, it seems as though your one-year-old won't let go of you for five minutes - you can't even step into the shower for five minutes without her trying to get under the water beside you, or screaming the place down, or both! And if you try to ignore her even for just a moment while you wash yourself, her screams of anguish break your heart.

This makes life difficult for you (because you can't have any time to yourself) and for her (because she can't enjoy herself without being right beside you). Yet such behavior is normal at the toddler stage, and with your support and encouragement, she will learn to manage these short breaks from you more effectively.

Causes Of Her Tears

There are various reasons why your child clings to you all the time. They are related to:


The emotional connection between you and your toddler is now firmly established, and the strength of this bond makes her want to be with you all the time. She is genuinely insecure when left temporarily with someone else.

Concept Of Time

You know that you'll only be in the next room for a couple of seconds - and you understand how long a couple of seconds will last - but your one-year-old doesn't know this. Her concept of time is not developed; seconds seem like ages to her at this age.


Your toddler is now more sensitive to your presence because she has a more mature understanding of the world around her. As a result, she reacts badly the moment you disappear from her line of vision; she feels vulnerable when alone.

Managing Her Separation Anxiety

Bear in mind that although your one-year-old might cry loudly when she wants to cling to you, she could also express her insecurity in other ways. Watch out for these, too. For instance, she may quietly toddle after you. It isn't naughtiness when she appears silently at your ankles while you are in the shower, despite your instructions to her to stay in the other room while you washed - this is her restrained way of telling you, "Mummy, you're not going anywhere without me:'

Or your one-year-old could become passive when separated. You might come out of the shower to find her sitting inactively in the exact same spot and in the exact same position as you left her, as if she literally hadn't moved. You can help boost your toddler's ability to cope with temporary separations from you by explaining to her that you'll be back in a couple of moments.

If you say it every time you leave her, she gradually develops an association between these words and your return. It's a matter of building up her trust through experience of short separations. And stay calm when she becomes upset - keep telling yourself that her anxiety is normal. If you get angry or become upset because she cries, she'll only cry even harder. Your discomfort makes her feel less secure. 

When you do manage to get a couple of moments away from her, make a special point of giving her attention when you get back to her. Give her a cuddle, stroke her face and forehead in a loving, soothing way, and reassure her that she is fine. As time goes on, she learns that she has nothing to be afraid of when you temporarily leave her.

And lastly, don't give in to your child's demands to cling to you all the time. If you do not even give your child a chance to be separated from you temporarily, you'll end up never having time on your own.


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