All children need attention but in the right amount and in a positive way. When they don’t get either they are more likely to misbehave and try and get attention by playing up – arguing, pushing, shoving, shouting, over-reacting, lying, getting into trouble etc.
No one likes children who misbehave as it makes parents grouchy and can easily put them in a bad mood. It is exhausting and requires so much energy when they play up. So what can parents do?
Steps to understanding your child’s attention seeking
- The first step is to try and understand the situation. Why did they do that? What did they need?
- Then ask yourself: What was I doing at that time? How could I have changed the situation? What did they want to show you? Tell you?
- Then think about strategies to deal with the situation: How could they get your focus next time? Could you do anything so there is less attention seeking and the behaviour that goes with it?
- If there is, then brilliant. Work with your child so that you both work with the situation differently so that they know you are there for them and there is no need to act out to get your attention.
- Find time to share activities, have meaningful conversations, engage with them whenever you have the chance. Catch them doing wonderful things and mention them, fill up their love bucket and show them how to communicate effectively.
The attention seeking behaviours will not go away forever. There will be times when our children feel they are not getting noticed enough or not having our attention. Be mindful of your behaviour and be intuitive to your child’s behaviour too – that really helps!