“My child demands attention 24×7!”

From the mailbag:

"Dear Mama Bear,

My 4 year old continuously wants to be velcroed to my side.  But because I'm a work at home mom, I simply *need* time by myself to get work done!

I've tried everything, computers, books, dolls (she has a tons of dolls), bribery and nothing happens!

I'm ashamed to admit that sometimes I even lose patience with her.  🙁  I know that's just not right.


Adriane in Utah"

Dear Adriane,

Oh wow, attack of the Child Who Refused To Be Un-Velcroed!

Been there, done that and bought the whole apparel store.  With a couple of coffee shops thrown in for good measure.

Isn't it sheer, unadulterated hell?

I mean, at your daughter's age, she's focused solely on herself.

  • "I want mommy!"
  • "I want mommy!"
  • "I want mommy!"

Followed by:

  • "I want mommy!"
  • "I want mommy!"
  • "I want mommy!"

Totally understandable too from her viewpoint; after all, you're the center of the universe, a brightly shining sun in which she can bask to her heart's delight!

Your goal, of course, is to ensure that brightly shining sun doesn't go super-nova on her delicate rear and blister it more so than 3 miles worth of gaily-colored holiday bubble wrap.

But first….

MamaBear has to warn you now – you'll probably *not* like what I'm going to say!

However….please do listen and simply *consider* the following viewpoint.

Your daughter is incredibly important, right?

  • Well then….so are *you*.

And for you to be the best possible mommy around, you have to give yourself permission to have *your* needs met as well.

And that means training your daughter to give you much needed time.

Here's some ways to go about this.

Step 1.)  Tell her you and she are a team, and that you depend upon her to cheer you on just like you do for her.

This will make the next step seem like something she can proactively do that will make you happy in the long run.

Step 2.)  Tell her that sometimes in teams, team members have different responsibilities.

And your particular responsibility requires intense peace and quiet to achieve.

Make up a responsibility for her (ie, drawing, telling her plushies a story, etc.)

Step 3.)  Set up a designated area in your office for her to play by herself.

Don't get too excited yet, you're going to quail at the next step (this whole process will take days if not weeks to internalize, but once achieved, will make your life glorious).

Then tell your daughter, she's going to help you now by doing her "job" by herself quietly for 5 minutes (start out with only 5 minutes).

And yes, alas, you're not going to be working yourself during this time…this is simply your way of training your daughter to be comfortable with her own self as opposed to sticking closer to you than Charlie Sheen sticks to cocaine.

Step 4.)  Tell her again that you really will appreciate her help, and tell her to begin.

Ideally, this will be such the novelty, she'll draw/color/etc. for at least 5 minutes.

Step 5.)  At the end of 5 minutes, praise her to the skies!

Then go thank whatever deity you worship for that promising beginning.

Step 6-8,392.)  Some time later, do the same thing again.

Repetition – it builds a body strong!

And so on, and so on.

Basically, you're setting the expectations for your daughter's behavior *plus* you're making her want to please you (after all, she's a great team member!).

Make no mistake.  It can take a looooong time for this idea to sink in, but if you choose to stay the path and train your daughter to be fair to you as well….the chances of success are dramatically increased.

Lots of luck to you!

Thus speaks….MamaBear

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