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Baby Likes To Sit On Your Lap When You Work At Home? The Sweet Explanation Behind ItInstead of getting mad, just enjoy it while you can!by Kitty Elicay .
For moms and dads who are working at home during the enhanced community quarantine, one of the biggest struggles is trying to accomplish your daily tasks while caring for your child at the same time. And we’re sure you’ve found this particular toddler behavior maddening: your child always seems to want to sit on your lap no matter how much you try and distract them. (Want proof? Read work at home stories from parents here.)
Well, there’s actually a perfectly simple and heartwarming reason for this: It’s because they love you, says Dr. Elizabeth Berger, a child psychiatrist and author of Raising Kids with Character in a Romper article.
Toddlers consider mommy or daddy’s lap their safe space and it gives comfort, just like when you carried them when they were young. “When children are infants, they spend large amounts of time in our arms and laps. This intimate time together is where children are fed, entertained, and comforted,” Dr. Laura Vogel, a licensed psychologist and director of therapeutic services at Momentous Institute in Dallas, Texas, tells Romper.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOWCONTINUE READING BELOWRecommended Videos
She adds, “Our laps become a safe space associated with warm, loving emotions. It’s where children learn to regulate their bodies and calm big emotions. We see children return to our laps as a way of connecting or receiving a moment of reassurance.”ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Remember: your child will never outgrow your loving touch — it is a language that your baby understands the most, after all. “It’s healthy for children to want to sit on their parents — they seek affection, warmth, cuddles, physical connection, and they want to be given attention,” shares marriage and family therapist Katie Ziskind.
This display of affection not only nurtures your bond, but it also has several positive effects on your child. A 2013 study shows that “parental warmth and affection protect one against the harmful effects of toxic childhood stress.” Higher self-esteem, better parent-child communication, and fewer psychological and behavior problems have also been linked to warmth and affection between parent and child.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
It can be frustrating whenever your toddler tries to worm herself on your lap, especially when you’re in the middle of a meeting, but for kids below 3 years old, they really crave and need these moments of connection. So try to be more understanding and see it from their perspective. “They’re still learning how to handle their emotions and need an adult to support them,” says Vogel.
For older kids who are learning to self-regulate, you might be able to temper their need to sit on your lap by redirecting them to sit beside you. Vogel suggests saying out loud what you want to happen: tell your child, “Right now, my lap is not for sitting on, but you can sit next to me.”
Make sure you are focusing on your child when you do this — hug them, make eye contact. This way, you are still fulfilling their need for connection, but differently. On the other hand, if you just say it and go back to whatever you’re doing, they are likely to seek more connection, “meaning they will likely crawl in your lap,” says Vogel.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
At the same time, reprimanding (or worse, yelling at) them for crawling on your lap can worsen their behavior. They will feel confused, upset, and scared. Naturally, they will want to be comforted by you, so your frustration can actually fuel their desire to sit on your lap again.
As they grow older and crave independence, their need to be closer to mommy or daddy will eventually lessen. The way we see it, instead of being angry at them for distracting you while you work, just be patient and embrace it. Kids will be kids for only a short time, after all!
Worried about the extended quarantine period? A teacher devised a routine for your child so you won't go crazy! Read all about it here.
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