My toddler clings to me. How can I help her be more confident?


As a parent, it can be frustrating when your child clings to you wherever you. Acknowledge your daughter’s feelings when she is upset, and try to keep her routine as predictable as possible to help foster a sense of security. When you have to leave your child, help her get busy with an activity before you go. Make your goodbye short and sweet with a few reassuring words and a cheerful wave good-bye. She will likely be upset, but prolonging the goodbye will only make it more upsetting for both of you. While it may be tempting to sneak out while she is preoccupied to avoid all the tears, this often makes children more clingy because they quickly learn that you can disappear at any time. Try leaving your daughter for small periods of time at first, and then slowly increasing the time you are away.

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

Child Development Expert

Jennie Ito is a mother of two and a child development consultant who specializes in children’s play and toys. Before becoming a consultant for LeapFrog, she was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and later worked as a content expert for the Association of Children’s Museum’s “Playing for Keeps” Play Initiative. Jennie earned her doctorate degree in developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.

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