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  • 3 Signs Your Child Needs Your Full Attention (Even Though You're Home 24/7)

    Plus, ways you can ensure you're meeting your child's attention needs.
    by Rachel Perez .
3 Signs Your Child Needs Your Full Attention (Even Though You're Home 24/7)
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Families have never spent this much time cooped up at home than ever before. The bright side is you can cherish the time with your kids since you're all forced to be with each other almost 24/7. 

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    Today's circumstances have also caused a lot of stress for parents juggling working from home and childcare or struggling to make ends meet. This can take a toll not only on the parents but also on the kids.

    Signs your child needs your full attention

    Being physically in the same place as your kids are different from being present with them. You may be with your kids, but your mind is somewhere else. Often, kids don't know how to express this, and it shows how they act. Here are some questions to ask yourself to check if your child needs your full attention.

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     1. Is your child extra clingy?

    You're not dressed to go out, and you're really going anywhere. Still, your little one insists on being carried by you or being in the same with you all the time. Older kids may ask for more cuddles or perhaps even sleep in your bed again. Your child being extra clingy can be a sign that he needs you. 

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     2. Does your child display behavior he has outgrown? 

    Regression is a common occurrence in children going through abrupt changes in their life. Maybe your child started to thumbsucking or wetting the bed again, even though he's not done it in months or years. Older kids will probably approach you and hug you more often or sleep with you in the same bed again. 

     3. Is your child acting out more than usual?

    Negative attention is still attention for a child who doesn't know how to express that need. Your child may be acting out because he needs your help in adjusting to not being able to go to school or play freely with friends. You may also notice behavior that's not typical of your child. 

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    Ways to meet your child's attention needs

    Many parents willingly sacrifice anything for their children. But when you're overwhelmed or running on empty, it's easy to neglect little things. The neverending to-do lists will always be there, but our kids are only young once. Here are some questions to ask yourself to check if your child needs your full attention.

    What type of child behavior do you notice the most?

    Kids misbehave for many reasons, but it doesn't do any harm to give your kids pockets of your full attention. If your child is acting out, the Child Mind Institute suggests not to overreact to what they do wrong and celebrate the deeds they do right.

    It seems simple enough, but it also takes effort to do. It helps to just pause and take deep breaths when, say, you see your child making a mess. Keep in mind also to understand and respond instead of just reacting. 

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    Have you ever done an attention audit? 

    Claire Nicogossian, a clinical assistant professor at Brown University and author of Mama, You Are Enough: How to Create Calm, Joy and Confidence Within the Chaos of Motherhood, encourages parents to do this every once in a while. 

    Ask yourself when the last time you played with your kids without checking your phone? What was the last thing you did with your child that didn't also involve prepping a meal? Have you spent time with your child, aside from helping in distance learning? 

    The answers can help you realize how much time you're actually present with your child. Resolve to give your child at least ten minutes of your complete and focused attention. 

    What's your child's schedule look like? 

    When making your child's new schedule or routine, make time for your child's alone time and time with you. Nicogossian stressed that setting boundaries teach kids coping and self-soothing skills

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    Your child will thrive when routines are in place, but they may need your help getting used to a new schedule. It's also a way to set limits and let you have your alone time or work from home time. Because you, my dear parent, need time for your own self-care, too. 

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