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18 month old wants to be held almost constantly

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    Hi, Janet and community. . .

    I have an 18 month old little girl who constantly requests, “Up, please!” At home, we’ve been trying to wean her from always wanting to be carried (she has been walking since month 13 and has no physical need to be carried at most times). So far we’ve been handling excessive requests by acknowleding her desire to be carried by saying something like, “You want mommy to pick you up” or “you’re feeling tired and want to be held” and then doing one of the following (we are experimenting in hopes of finding something that works): (1) explaining in a kind and caring way that she is just fine and can walk on her own, (2) getting down on her level and reassuring her that we are “there for her” and not going anywhere, and/or (3) offering a hug as we kneel next to her on the floor. None of these approaches works very well. Her distress escalates as she realizes I/we are not going to pick her up — crying, yelling, stomping feet. So far, we just ignore these behaviors and go about our business. Although her distress eventually abates, it is not long before she is asking, “Up, please!” again.

    Yesterday, her teacher indicated that M is also asking to be held “all the time” at school. In fact, I witnessed M’s teacher holding her while the rest of teh class played outside! (Don’t want M missing on out important socialization!) I shared with the teacher what we are trying at home, but I am not feeling very confident about my recommendations.

    On another note, I’m starting to worry that M has a need for affection and/or security that is not being met. We are a very loving family. . .lots of touch, hugging, lap sitting, etc. By refusing some of M’s requests to be held I don’t want to be teaching my child that I am not available to support her when she needs it. . .

    point of clarification: if M’s requests to be picked up seem legitimate, I always pick her up — for instance, if M has been walking for an extended time, or if she is nervous in a new social situation. . .

    Would love some suggestions from Janet and/or the group.
    Thanks in advance,

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