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How do I react to my clingy 17 month old?

When I say clingy I mean he literally clings to me when we enter a social setting. It's not with our family or close friends, but when we enter a room of strangers(to him) he freaks out. He will not let me put him down and if I try he grabs ahold of my leg and says "mama mama". I'm torn because I am not only heart broken because he is so upset, but it is kind of embarassing. I just am wondering the proper way to handle it. He is 30+ pounds so holding him the entire visit is just not ideal. I don't want him to be scared or feel like I am putting him in an uncomforatble situation. I know people say he will grow out of it, but what should I don in the mean time? Any nice suggestions would be greatly appreciated...thanks!

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Asked by bamsmama23 at 11:35 PM on May. 24, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 1 (-12 Credits)
Answers (3)
  • If you know you are going to be in a situation like that you might try explaining it to him. I know he's young but children understand a lot! If you explain it to him in a way that is very simple and you do this every time it might help. Also, let him know that he is always safe with you. As long as he can see you and you can see him then he's going to be okay. Talk to him. You might also try to ask him to color how he feels. Yes. i know. ...but certian colors often represent different feelings. You might be able to better visualize how he's feeling which might help you understand how to deal with it.
    Be firm and consistant. If you really cant hold him that long, put him down. Explain that it hurts your back because he's getting to be a big boy. He might be upset the first 100 times you do this (...okay. so not that many times. lol) but eventually he will get used to the rule.
    Good luck.

    Answer by outstandingLove at 11:45 PM on May. 24, 2009

  • I know that it's at times embarrassing when our children act crazy. It's hard to be judged in public for not having the "perfect" child. You should be very understanding with him. He can't help it if he's scared of new people and situations. I was always a shy person and shoving me into an uncomfortable situation is not going to help. Does he have a lovey you can take? Offer him reassuring words and hold his hand. If he gets really distressed hold him for a minute or too or maybe take him to a quite corner.

    Answer by MoonLover06 at 1:10 AM on May. 25, 2009

  • I agree with PPs. Explain the situation before you go there. I always tell DD right before we leave that we're going to Grandma's and we're going to see the kitty!!! The two words "grandma" and "kitty" help her get excited to go.

    My DD is also shy around others at 18 mos. It is very normal! It certainly helps when I am able to cuddle with her for the first little while. Bring a small toy or book. When you get there, make your rounds (with your LO in your arms) then excuse yourself for a few mins to sit and cuddle on the couch. Read your LO a book or play with the toy. After a few mins, you should be able put him on the floor at your feet, or hold his hand and find someone/something interesting for him.

    Make sure you enter the scenario relaxed and happy yourself. Your LO will feed off of you--if you are not smiling, he won't know that this is an okay situation.

    Answer by epoh at 6:47 AM on May. 25, 2009

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