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I'm finding my 3yo's need for attention utterly wearing. Please help

(13 Posts)
sclubheaven Wed 22-Oct-08 14:49:16

My DS2 seems to crave my attention in a way that is really getting me down. He has been like it on and off for a long time, he has phases of being slightly better or worse.

He goes to nursery 2 mornings a week and is fine when I leave him and is very happy there during the sessions. He also has no problem leaving my side at toddler groups and doing his own thing, so I don't think it's an attachment issue.

The problem is at home when it's just the 2 of us and DS1 is at school. Wherever I am in the house, he has to be in the same room - he really can't just seem to play with his toys for more than a few minutes without calling me to see where I am. If I'm doing housework he is continuously asking for something to get me to stop what I'm doing. I can't talk on the telephone without him shouting at me and wanting to talk on the phone too.

I've tried setting time aside for one-to-one activity, and he loves it. But the minute it's over he is back to playing up for my attention again.

Things I know he can do, like build a train-track, draw a picture or do a puzzle, he just says he can't do it or needs me to do it with him.

Even as I sit here and type he is constantly on at me asking for a hug, to get up on my lap, asking me to talk to him. We are in a room full of toys and he just won't play with them.

The only thing that gives me a break is the television and I hate myself for switching it on just to get some peace. I'm finding it so frustrating and am often short with him, which really doesn't help. Then I feel so guilty sad

Is anyone out there going through the same, or can give me some advice. Is this normal? I don't remember it being like this with DS1.


sclubheaven Wed 22-Oct-08 15:32:28


Acinonyx Wed 22-Oct-08 16:32:49

My dd (3) is like this except she won't play with her toys alone for even a few minutes! It does drive me barmy TBH. I try to make sure we get out for half the day, usually to a friends' houses with other 3 yr-olds, or just going into town, round the shops.

I have friends whose dcs play alone for an hour or more at this age shock

Guess we just got lucky wink

We do a lot of baking. In fact we are overwhelmed with tarts at the moment. Anyone hungry?

sclubheaven Wed 22-Oct-08 16:53:23

Thanks smile

I suppose he is just one of those high maintenance children. At least when DS1 gets home from school he tends to leave me alone for a (short) while.

Right now the TV is on and he hasn't looked my way once - I just wish it wasn't the only way to entertain him when I have things to do!

Anna8888 Wed 22-Oct-08 16:55:31

It is quite, quite normal and healthy for a small child to want to be within sight/hearing of his mother. I am afraid you need to be a bit more patient smile

mabanana Wed 22-Oct-08 16:55:45

This is totally normal. He's not high maintenance or clingy or anything, just a totally regular kid. IMO he (and you!) needs more nursery time IMO as he will get company make friends etc, and you can do your chores in peace and then take him out to the park etc, he can meet up with friends with kids the same age, he can go for playdates and you can invite other kids for playdates.

Littlefish Wed 22-Oct-08 16:55:59

Dd is just the same! In fact, I think I've found age 3-4yrs the hardest stage so far (apart from very new born).

I really don't have any advice at all, but just wanted you to know you weren't alone.

I second the cooking together idea too.

TheProvincialLady Wed 22-Oct-08 16:57:17

Have you tried negotiating with him? For instance "If you play by yourself for x minutes (set timer) while mummy does x then we will have a lovely time and do x afterwards." Would that sort of approach work do you think? You could start small and work up to longer periods.

pointygravedogger Wed 22-Oct-08 17:00:07

It's been a lomng time since my dds were 3 but I still remember how draining it was.

I'm afraid it's normal. I used to arrange visits to other people's houses (or them to us) and thinks like tumbletot type activities so that they wouldn't pester me all the time.

mabanana Wed 22-Oct-08 17:02:03

At three he can go to nursery for 2.5 hours 5 days a week absolutely free, which gives you plenty of time for housework and I think he sounds the kind of child who'd absolutely love it.

sclubheaven Wed 22-Oct-08 17:04:09

Thanks for the replies. I suppose I know it's normal really - I'm just not used to it as DS1 was more independent. Anna, you are right, I need to be more patient as I am tending to get cross with him when he's really doing nothing wrong, poor mite.

TPL - I do try negotiating with him, but it usually ends up with him shouting 'but I just want to come with you' or 'I can't do it on my own', or he starts crying and saying he needs a hug which, he knows I won't refuse because it feels mean and rejecting to say no.

I think I'll try leaving all the chores until he's in nursery, so I can spend more time with him doing stuff.

sclubheaven Wed 22-Oct-08 17:05:29

mabanana - you're right, I think he would benefit. He gets his free sessions after Christmas so I might send him in for another 2 mornings.

Othersideofthechannel Wed 22-Oct-08 17:09:37

DS was a bit like this. He would however quite happily accompany me in household tasks for 20 minutes or so I got things done by alternating play and working together.

He is 5 and much better at playing on his own. It started when he could draw pictures we could recognise (nearly 4 IRCC)

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