attention seeking child

Sometimes I hear parents or teachers scoff or whisper to me that children are "just doing it for attention." But have you ever taken a moment to stop and think about what it means to seek attention?

Attention is a very basic need everyone has. While it is not necessarily bad that a child seeks out attention, it is often interpreted as negative. In actuality, they are seeking love, support, and care.

So what should you do when your child is seeking attention? For starters, you should notice them.

Ignoring an attention-seeking child is like putting a band-aid on a festering wound. And if the child is engaging in behaviors to truly have a need met, ignoring is the last thing you want to do. Ignoring can backfire, pushing negative behaviors forward, instead.

Try giving a hug, watching your child show off a new skill, or just listening to show you care.

It's also important to understand, children don't always know what it is they need, or why they might be doing a certain action. After all, as adults, we don't always immediately know what our needs are either. Children need your help. I know this is easier said than done. My own son belts out the most obnoxious cow-like sound when he's bored. And as much as I want to tell him to knock it off, I have to remember to stop and ask myself, "What's going on here?" He's bored, he wants someone to play with him, he doesn't know what to do with himself. As we know, kids turn to their most trusted parents, caregivers and teachers when they need help. When they feel safe, kids are more likely to allow themselves to fall apart, break down and make the most horrendous of animal noises in close proximity to our ears.

Too often, needing help might look like exhibiting negative behavior.

Sometimes help is silent, other times it's loud and obnoxious. That's when we become angry, frustrated and annoyed. We hit our limits of exhaustion and patience.

Wanting to be seen, heard and acknowledged is okay, mama. It is human. We don't always have to fix it, but we can address it, and teach coping skills.

We want our children to learn how to understand and ask for what it is they need in healthy ways. If they don't have the means and skills, they truly don't know what to do to get their needs met. Looking at this from a developmental standpoint, remember that both kids and teens are simply following the responses of their body.

Here's what a conversation might look like with a younger child:

1. Show empathy.

I'm sorry to see you are having a hard time right now.

2. Verbalize what is occurring. Address what possible needs are not being met and what feelings your child is struggling with.

It seems like you might be feeling a lot of anger? Are you feeling so much anger that you want to throw all your toys across the room and yell? That is so much anger! I am so sorry. Let's talk about what made you feel angry. Is there a solution?

3. Help your child come up with a more productive or effective way to have these needs met.

Let's try something else to help us with our anger and frustration instead of throwing our toys. Will you try _______ with me, to get out some big energy? And then maybe we can work on trying again, this time by talking about our angry feelings.

Here's what a conversation might look with a teenager:

1. Show empathy.

I'm sorry I am not able to drive you to your friend's house, I know you are struggling to find something to do on your own and you're probably bored and lonely.

2. Verbalize what is occurring.

Address what possible needs are not being met and what feelings the child is struggling with: It seems like you are angry and frustrated and that's why you are slamming the doors and yelling. It's okay to feel a little bit lonely or bored sometimes, but I know it's not fun. I know you'd like some time with your friend and I wish it worked out to able to take you there.

3. Help your child come up with a more productive or effective way to have these needs met.

Why don't you come talk it out with me or do some drawing to get some of the anger and frustration out? Then, we can come up with a plan together of something that we can work out instead. I have a meeting for an hour. Can you do something to de-stress for an hour on your own, and then maybe we can get lunch together/go see a movie and plan another time to go see your friend?

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12 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


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