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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>General Question Re: Attention Seeking Children
mamamanda 04:28 AM 02-29-2016
I have had several of these children in my care this last year and I never quite know how to handle them. It seems they are either only children, have some sort of a special need/medical reason parents feel guilty about, or they are the baby of the family separated by many years from older siblings. It appears that they receive TONS of attention from parents/siblings at home. Then when they are here in a group setting they act out constantly trying to get the attention on themselves here as well.

I know the general consensus is to just respond with "Go Play," until they get it. What I'm wondering about is those rare quiet times where you end up with one of them by themselves. This doesn't happen often, but I've had a few times where one comes early and there may be 30 minutes before anyone else arrives or my own children wake up. And then they are all over me. If I say, "Go Play Toys," they are asking me one question after another, showing me the toy, asking for help (which they obviously don't need), needing a tissue, an extra bathroom break, anything to get me to focus on them exclusively.

Now, if I had a few quiet moments with my own children I would scoop them into my lap, read a story, do finger plays, talk about the day, etc. And we would both cherish the time together. But I'm afraid to do that with these kids as it seems that any and all individual attention is met with more attempts at seeking additional attention later on. My aunt keeps telling me that these kids obviously need the attention and by not giving them enough I'm setting myself up for failure with their behavior. However, I feel that they need desperately to learn to be responsible for their own play/entertainment. Not b/c I don't want to play with them or spend time with them, but b/c they haven't developed this skill and it is negatively affecting everyone in the group. How do you handle this?

I don't want to be withholding something they need, but I genuinely feel like in each of the 3 cases that immediately come to mind, giving extra attention only increased the negative behavior later in the day. Has this been your experience as well? Any suggestions or even just an "I've experienced that too?"
Play Care 05:19 AM 02-29-2016
My attention seeking DCG is here for about a half hour or so at the end of each day. I set up specific seated activities for her and chat while I clean up, finish paperwork, etc.

I have received the same advice as you, I needed to give more attention, make sure I was giving them what they need, etc. So on the advice of a seasoned provider I did the "popsicle stick" challenge I took colored craft sticks and assigned each child a color. For every positive interaction I would move their stick from one pocket to the other. This way I could keep track of all the positive interactions I was having and up them as needed. Almost always these attention seeking kids had waaaaaaaaaaaay more *positive* interactions than the other kids.

So yeah, I get it
Hunni Bee 05:31 AM 02-29-2016
Im curious too, as I have one like this now.

The difference is that she ISNT getting the attention at home...the only girl and the oldest, plus there's a new baby and her parents aren't the most attentive in the first place.

But like you said, extra attention is met with escalating attempts for more attention. Which if she gets it spawns even greater attempts....til she's literally weeping for no reason. We've seen lying, stealing, potty accidents, hitting, pretending to be sick...

I don't know how to help her.
midaycare 08:45 AM 02-29-2016
If I'm alone with a dck, I will play with them. Or sit with them while they play.
Ariana 09:55 AM 02-29-2016
I give undivided individual attention for specific amounts of time throughout the day but then it ends. So for example I would sit and play one on one or read books while they sit on my lap etc. But I will tell them upfront that I will play for 10 minutes or that I will read 3 books and then it is time for them to go and play.

The one little girl that I had like this was severely lacking attention at home and this is how it came out at my house. I started asking her questions back and it seemed to help. "Ariana look at my painting" " I see your painting how do you feel about it?" Or "Ariana I am playing with the toys" " I see you playing with toys, are you proud of what you are doing?" It was a way to help her become motivated intrinsically intead of always looking for external validation. I would also praise the times when she did things without looking for validation. So I would say "I really like how you are playing by yourself and not needing attention from me, that really helps me". Or "I really like how you drew that picture and felt proud for yourself instead of wondering if I am proud of you". That type of thing.

Sometimes it really does help but you have to stick to it because I find children are constantly looking for someone to say "good job" 24/7. My own daughter became like this when she started school. It broke my heart.
auntymimi 11:48 AM 03-08-2016
I was just looking for info on this! I'm "trying out" a new little 4 yo to replace the older young lady with the "issue" I had. Anyway, she's very sweet but VERY babied with lots of attention seeking issues. Babied to the point of me having to remind her to use words (literally stood at the door to my art cabinet pointing her finger and making whining "uh, uuuhhhh! sounds instead of asking to color) she acted like she had no idea how to put on socks or shoes, wanted a bottle of milk at nap. All day long I've had to ask her to go play toys, and I feel kind of mean but she's driving me crazy! None of my other kids are like this (but i remember that taking months of work). The only other calls I've got are for older kids, that I no longer will accept, or babies which I really don't want to do either! What happened to all the kids who can play, eat, sleep, and do their thing? I feel like every new kid is a battle. It's just "look at me, watch this, hey is this good, did I do a good job? (this is endless and asked for everything-takes a bite of food "did I do a good job?") can you help me...(for things she can obviously do by herself)or uh, uuuhhhh!" all day long.
It doesn't help that mom works 12 hour shift, either.
Michael 12:20 PM 03-08-2016
We actually have previous threads on Attention Seekers:
Tags:attention seeking
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