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Does 21 month old need THAT much attention?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I am not familiar w/ attachment parenting and haven't read the gentle dispcipline threads... so, I accept any answers. :)  (we have 3 ways which we discipline... and working on which is most effective... and we are attending a Child Guidance class)


Just a little history. My DD sleeps in a crib next to our bed... since birth. DH WFH and I am a SAHM. My DD seems to require a lot of attention, so much so, that we are not productive at home. Is this real? Is this expected? She always wants me to play with her or be on the same floor as her (2 story home). She needs constant attention. I had no idea. How could I make her... more independent? Should I? 

post #2 of 16

I think they do need That much attention. It goes so quick and before you know it they are in school. I am a new parent myself (to a 24 month old- still feels new) and I was also surprised at how I need to focus on him almost constantly when he is awake- it is hard but worth it. I am learning to let htings go and I know that pretty soon he will be in pre school and then regular school so I try to enjoy my time with my baby,. I think he benifits from all the attention and has his whole life to be independent but I think dependent is good at this age.

post #3 of 16

This is normal.  Totally totally totally normal.  Babies and toddlers need a LOT of attention.  They need to be close to their caregiver.  It can be very difficult to get anything done around the house.  You need to accept this, while trusting that it will get better as she gets older (21 months is still really little though).


You say that sometimes it's enough to be on the same floor as her.  Well, yes, you almost certainly will need to be on the same floor as her (unless she's sleeping).  Set her up to play nearby while you get tasks done.  Save some extra fun activities for when you need her to entertain herself.  Water play (set her up on a towel on the floor with a big rubbermaid container of water and some scoops), sand/bean play (same set up as before) if you trust her not to put it in her mouth, toys that are usually out of circulation (maybe those noisy light-up toys that you don't usually want around), etc, etc.


Other ideas: try to get chores done while she's napping.  Hire a "mother's helper" to come in for a few hours every now and then to give you a break.  Swap babysitting with a SAHM friend. 


If you are feeling "played out" pop her in the stroller and go for a long walk.  Get involved in a playgroup.  Spend time at the park,library (if it's kid friendly - ours has a whole section with toys), or indoor playground.

post #4 of 16

Well, yes and no.  I have two, the youngest just turned 2 recently, so not much older than yours.  I absolutely have to have him within at least hearing and generally seeing range 99.9% of the time or he will get into whatever he can get into :) He takes a lot of watching and distracting, refocusing, etc. BUT-I definitely am NOT down on the floor playing with him one-on-one that 99.9% of the time! We play, read, and snuggle a good portion of the day, other times he plays with his sister, other times he plays alone.  I have stuff to do around the house and sometimes he tags along and "helps" me while I clean, cook, etc.  Sometimes I will sit and read a book myself while he nurses or climbs on me or plays right in front of me.  We play outside a lot in nice weather where he just kind of runs around and looks at everything while I hang up laundry or read a book or do some yard work.  Again, sometimes I am carrying him with me doing these things, sometimes he is tagging along and helping, sometimes doing something entirely different while I stay close and watch him. 


I can't really use nap time or after bedtime for chores because I need nap time for time with dd for school and playing one-on-one with her, I work after bed, and my house is teeny so noise really carries while they are sleeping. 


So, I just wanted to make sure you weren't feeling like just because he needs attention all day, that attention needs to be constant entertaining.  I love to play with my kids, but I am not a parent who will be setting up games and playing the entertainer all day long, and I think that is perfectly okay.  My kids do require a lot of attention, but they are also pretty great about coming up with things to play by themselves (age-appropriately, of course!) 

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the tips... and the play-ideas! I need to find a shallow tub. That would be fun!!!


Hmmm, not down on the floor playing with them? I would like to do less of this. :)

We have a couple of her favorite toys that require my help... so maybe we need more toys for her to be more independent. I don't know that I can convince my DH of that right now. *lol*


Sometimes I just want to walk downstairs to get one thing and she cries. And, she is very good at not getting into anything she's not supposed to. She also "helps" me bake & cook... and do laundry. But all the other times... she is almost demanding of us with: "come this way..." "sit here" "get/tickle me" "color":)

Well, I am still quite surprised they need That much attention. :)

post #6 of 16

Partly, it depends on the kid's personality - some of them figure out how to entertain themselves earlier than others.  And some know how to entertain themselves longer than others. 


Showing them how to "help" with chores can work.  Or, get a mother's helper.

post #7 of 16

They can be very demanding at that age.  As in literally demanding (like in your examples: "sit here", "come this way", etc).  But it's ok to say no sometimes.  Or to defer ("wait a minute").  Or to redirect to something else.


If you need to go downstairs just to fetch something you could give her the option of coming with.  Even if she waits upstairs and cries for a little minute I think that's ok (others may feel differently).  I think the thing is to be clear with her ("I have to go downstairs.  I'll be back in two minutes"), and then *the crucial step* is to follow through (actually be back in 2 mins).  She will learn that it's ok for mama to quickly run and get something, and that she can trust that mama will be back.

post #8 of 16
Originally Posted by germin8 View Post
She always wants me to play with her or be on the same floor as her (2 story home). 


My 2 cents -- my kids wanted to be on the same floor of the house as them for years and years.


When they were toddlers I would give them something to do very close to where I was trying to get something done -- something to play with on the floor of the kitchen while I was making dinner for example.


I think it's normal for them to want to be close to us, but I also think it's reasonable to be able to function -- connected to them, but not totally focused on them every minute

post #9 of 16
short answer, yes.

I am home with my seven and five year old right now ... And they are constantly interacting with me. They can go for long jags ..say 20 minutes where they are absorbed in art or a project. My oldest will listen to books on tapes on her own for hours. But in between that, they are asking me things, showing me things, needing help. It's all day like that.

But we chose to be very hand's on, and to be very responsive. At this age, they can be told that they have to entertain themselves or handle something on their own. Not so much with a two year old.

You could play music for you l.o. It was around that age that I let mine watch one show a day ... Not some trashy cartoon, but a documentary, a musical, etc. that will buy you an hour of peace. Also, that is the age where frequent toy changing and replenishing is necessary ... I remember swapping toys with friends and also going to the thrift store a lot. It,s not to early for crayons and paper ....

Good luck....
post #10 of 16

our dd did.  she only moved into her own bed/room very recently and we thought the clinginess and inability to play alone would never end.  for us it was just time-- i did find a little relief by going into her room and playing with her and getting her involved in play and then slipping out.  it for us did get better in a matter of months at the point where you are, though.

post #11 of 16

Can you do playdates with other kids her age? Maybe that would help. It sounds from your follow-up post that she really wants someone to play with. Seems like she'd benefit from a friend or two. DS needed lots of attention at that age, too, but he didn't try to direct play like that. I think I would have figured out sooner to do more playdates for him if he had...

post #12 of 16

Sounds like what I remember from that age. They can get into so much in such a short amount of time that being on the same floor seems like a good idea anyway.

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post

Can you do playdates with other kids her age? Maybe that would help. It sounds from your follow-up post that she really wants someone to play with. Seems like she'd benefit from a friend or two. DS needed lots of attention at that age, too, but he didn't try to direct play like that. I think I would have figured out sooner to do more playdates for him if he had...

Nice idea, even though it still means I am unproductive at home.:) Our DD has never really been away from us and nobody has baby sat her (we moved to a new location). She interacts with others her age about once or twice a week... apparently, it is not enough. However, I like your idea and should probably work on finding interested mothers. Thanks.

post #14 of 16

You may still not be as productive as you want to be, but your DH will be able to work,and eventually she will get used to playing without you. I noticed that DS would go off by himself a bit more (a TINY bit, but more than nothing) after a playdate and "try out" the things his friends did while they were there. He'd usually come to me and show me or ask me to do it with him, but at least his mind was working on playing like he did with the other children and it got easier to occupy him without my involvement.


Also, something else I just thought of.... Not that you have the room for it, and she may be a bit young, but we bought him a train set at a garage sale and it was like having a nanny a couple of hours a day! Maybe something like that, or a dollhouse where she can rearrange furniture, etc. might keep her interest?

post #15 of 16

Yes, totally normal. I remember being a little shocked by it too. 

I read an article in Mothering magazine many years ago and the mother said that after she took her toddler on a long hike everyday the toddler went off and played in the afternoon while she worked. I was astounded by this scenario.

post #16 of 16
My best bet with toddlers is to take them to the park or somewhere and let them play for a LONG time, long enough until they're pretty worn out, and then they might quietly play for a bit while I work. Mine will sit in her high chair with water colors and paint while I work if she has had some run-around time. She loves to paint.
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