Do you have a clingy toddler?

Not all toddlers are free-spirits. Some toddlers want mommy and only mommy. This mom has just that problem and has asked our expert for some advice.

Desperate Mommy

Hi there

I have a 14 month old son, who has been attending a crèche for the past 5 months. Over the last 2 weeks, when I drop him off in the mornings he is extremely clingy and screams and cries terribly. I don't see anything physically wrong with him as he eats and sleeps well.

I don't know if this could maybe be the reason, but he is extremely fond of his dad and they have a good relationship, but my husband only comes home once a week, could this maybe be the reason or is he too young?


Expert advice

This is very distressing for you. I would imagine that this is a typical case of separation anxiety – so common at this stage.

I would need to know whether he settles well after you have left. If he does, then it really is more a case of making the “goodbyes” as quick and non- emotional as possible. Try to be as calmly matter-of-fact as possible. Then give a lot of close attention and physical closeness as possible when you fetch him. Let other chores etc be neglected and focus on him.

At this age they need a lot of one-on-one from primary carers – and so you will need to help him his needy little emotional cup in the time you do have with him. But there is no doubt that, no matter what you do, he will still probably be clingy and tearful for a while. This is developmentally normal.
I doubt that it is about your husband being away – but of course this could play a part – mainly because if he were here more of the time, you would have helpful support in meeting your baby’s needs. As it is, you will have to be the main emotional parent for now.

I do hope that this helps you.

Dr Anne Cawood

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