When it comes to giving a child the right amount of attention they need - being a parent isn't that easy. Give them too much and they might turn out spoiled and entitled, give them too little and they misbehave and are sad. Finding the right balance for every child is quite a difficult task. To help with that task, we have assembled a list of 20 signs that can be helpful. If a child is showing 10 or more of these, chances are they might need a bit more attention.
Always keep in mind that there can be plenty of other reasons why a child shows any of these signs, and they might have nothing to do with a lack of attention. At the end of the day, each child needs to have attention tailored to their needs. Some might need more, some might want less, but whichever case it is, they will try to subconsciously tell you. Which is why paying attention to signs like these is a big part of parenting.
Okay, here they are: 20 signs a child might be getting too little attention.
20 They Do Things Slowly In The Morning
Here's an interesting one: kids who need more attention sometimes get very creative in the ways they try to get it, and a common way is that they do things slowly in the morning, so that you can nag and help them and just focus on them for once. And a lot of times you can notice them pretending to do something they can do in 10 seconds for a whole minute because they want you to actually notice and address it. Kids will never just tell you they need more attention, they will do things like this instead to show you.
19 They Interrupt Conversations
Some kids just interrupt because they can't control themselves, but some interrupt on purpose. If they do, generally the reason for such behavior is a lack of attention given by a parent. They honestly just really want you to see them and talk to them more. So while you should definitely teach your child that interrupting someone else is rude and they shouldn't do it unless necessary, you should also ask yourself if there might be a reason why they do it so often, and whether they do it to anyone or just the conversations you are having with others.
18 They Are Very Clingy
Kids can be clingy for plenty of reasons. Often kids can get clingy because they get too much attention and they are just so used to it. But sometimes they can get clingy because they lack attention and are so desperately trying to get more of it. Either way, having your child grow up clingy is not good for either of you, which is exactly why parents should address this issue as soon as possible, figure out the cause for the clinginess and find ways to make it better. Every child is unique, and it should be approached in a unique way.
17 They Lie To Exaggerate Memories
Kids who tend to over-dramatize and exaggerate things are also often in need of more attention. They just want to impress and make the stories they share as good and as exciting as possible, in hopes of gaining more attention and getting to keep it. Kids lie for many reasons, but if you notice that your child is one of those who turn a regular story into something slightly more spectacular and exciting by adding a thing here and there, then they might actually be trying to get more attention from you. Obviously this is a bad habit, so you need to make sure you teach them to stop lying about how things went down.
16 They Cry Often
A kid who cries very rarely cries for no reason. And sure, there can be plenty of reasons why they cry, but if you can't put a finger on any, it could easily be that they are crying because they want more of your attention. This is probably the easiest way for them to get it because they know you'll come running once they start crying. Try to test this theory by giving them more attention and seeing if they still end up crying as much. Chance is, they might cry way less because there won't be any need for tears.
15 They Throw Tantrums In Public
Another very common way young kids tend to get attention is when they throw tantrums and make a scene in public. No parent wants their child to ever misbehave, but especially not in public with a bunch of strangers looking and judging, and guess what, children definitely know that. And they also know that this is a great way to get immediate attention because for them scolding them is still better than ignoring them. And let's be real, no kid gets immediate attention like the one who embarrasses its parents in public by causing a scene, so we can't really blame them.
14 They Often Play The Victim
Kids who pull out the victim card all the time also tend to just be attention seekers. This is one of the more common ways children express their need for more attention because it generally works flawlessly. They know that their parents do love them, and if they present themselves as the victim of a certain situation they will get more attention. So while you should always trust your child, be aware that sometimes they can lie to get more from you. The best way to stop them from doing this is to give them what they need - your time.
13 They Channel Their Energy In Bad Ways
Same way they throw tantrums in public, or throw things around, attention-seeking children can also become more aggressive towards toys and items around them, sometimes even humans. And obviously, just like the previously mentioned two, this is another one of those things parents need to teach their children not to do. And the best way to do that is to always get down to the bottom and find out why they are behaving that way. Why are they upset? What is bothering them? You'd actually be surprised how many kids simply do it just to get their parents attention.
12 They Refuse To Go To Bed
You know when you spend an hour trying to get your kid to go to bed? Well yeah, they are very much aware of the fact that you spend time with them then, and often they will use that to spend even more time with you. Which is why they tend to stay awake and give you a hard time putting them to bed. Of course, there are still children who do this regardless of whether they seek more attention or not - but it is very possible that a reason for this kind of behavior is wanting to spend more time with you.
11 They Fake Feeling Sick
You know when kids get the most amount of attention from their parents? When they are sick. And while you should never really distrust your child when they say they don't feel well, if you do notice that they seem to be faking feeling sick you should look for the reason rather than argue with them. There can be plenty of reasons why some kids lie about being sick. Some kids lie because they don't want to go to school, or some do it so they don't have to visit family members, but sometimes children do it because they want you to give them more time.
10 They Don't Want To Sleep Alone
Some kids like to sleep in a room together with their parents, sometimes even in their bed, because they are clingy and want more attention. There's nothing wrong with a child wanting to be physically close to their parents, but eventually, this kind of behavior shouldn't be encouraged, as it will cause the child to have trouble sleeping by themselves in the future. So if your child is often running into your room at night demanding to sleep with you, ask yourself if this may be because they don't get to spend enough quality time with you during the day.
9 They Get Jealous When They See You With Other Children
For children who don't get enough attention from their parents, something that they may not like is seeing their parent giving attention to another child. Even if that child is their own sibling, they can get extremely jealous. But if that child is a friend's child, they might even get so upset with you that they end up causing a scene. If your kid is visibly jealous when you interact with other children, make sure you figure out why. Some kids are just jealous by nature, but some are jealous for a good reason - you don't give them enough of your time.
8 They Pretend To Forget Things
Kids who forget things are often reminded of those things by their parents, and if you're reminding them that means you actually pay attention to them and give them the time they so desperately crave. Of course, as with most things on this list, the reason the child does it can be something completely different, but it could also very possibly be the fact that they want you around more. And sometimes all you need to do to figure this out is to actually openly talk to them. Especially if they are a doing a bunch of the things we mention on this list.
7 They Have A Meltdown When Ignored
If a child feels like they don't get enough attention, chances are the child is often ignored. And sure, sometimes parents ignore kids because they are busy or too stressed, but that shouldn't justify not giving your child the attention they deserve. And kids who are ignored have meltdowns because they just feel completely invisible at certain times. This can lead to them having anxiety and major insecurities when they grow up, and should definitely not be neglected. Kids often prefer you to be angry and mad at them, than to not give them any attention and ignore them.
6 They Throw Things Around
Throwing things is hands down, one of the easiest ways for kids to get instant attention. Everyone instinctively immediately looks when something is being thrown around, and parents do for sure. And while little kids often throw things around for no reason at all - or simply because it's fun, toddlers and older kids can sometimes throw things to grab your attention, because they want you to see them. Again, this is one of those times where they'd rather have you school them about how problematic throwing things can be and be angry at them, than have you ignore them completely.
5 They Ask For Help A Lot
Have you noticed that your child seems insecure and asks for help a lot? Even for those things you're sure they can easily do on their own? If that's the case you should definitely stop and think about why they might be doing that. It's quite obvious, isn't it? If they are perfectly capable to do something on their own, yet they still ask for your help - maybe even pretend they don't know how to do it - they definitely just want more of your time and attention. Sometimes kids are really hard to read, but when it comes to this one it's completely obvious.
4 They Seem Sad
Seeing your child being quiet and sad isn't easy and no parent out there wants that. But sometimes it's pretty easy to make them feel good and happy again. Sometimes all they really need is a bit more one-on-one time with you, and a bit more love and care. Of course, if your child is sad a lot and quite often, and you're not really sure why it's always a good thing to consult a professional for help. But honestly, so often it's just their need for more closeness and affection, and if you fulfill that they will feel much better.
3 They Are Picky Eaters
Okay, sure, some kids are just picky eaters by nature, but some do it for a specific reason. If you still feed your child, or you're always with them when they eat - that might be one of the rare times they actually have your full attention. And if they feel like they need more attention in general, they might start eating slowly more often or even refusing to eat what you give them and ask for something else instead. And if this is the case, your child isn't actually a picky eater, they just know the more they drag out their mealtime, the more attention they will get from you
2 They Tend To Overreact
Overreacting can be another sign of a child not getting enough attention from their parents. If your kid is super dramatic and tends to get upset or annoyed when things go even slightly wrong, they actually might just be doing so to get your attention. Keep in mind that for some kids this is just a personality trait, it's the way they are, but others start doing it for very specific reasons. Easily irritable kids are that way for some reason, and it is part of your job as a parent to talk to them and figure out what that reason might be.
1 They Misbehave
Lastly, the ultimate attention seeking behavior children have: they misbehave. Because honestly, they would rather have you be angry and mad at them because that at least means they do get to get some kind of attention from you - even if that means they have to settle for the negative kind. Some kids are just plain mischievous, but others do it for different reasons, and one of them can be this.
Either way, if you found your kid in 10 or more of these examples we listed, you should perhaps check if you're giving them enough of your time and attention.