Parenting Now!

How to Use Your Attention to Create a Calmer Home

It’s exciting to see your baby start to become a child. They’re a little more independent, able to focus on a particular activity and even entertain themselves for short periods of time. Even though she’s getting older, she still needs lots of attention. Everyone does. Children need attention to survive – without it they won’t be able to develop the way they need to. Giving your child attention shows them you love them – and is also an important need for his or her growth and development.

Lack of Attention

Children who don’t get proper attention can develop emotional, intellectual and even physical problems.

A child who doesn’t get attention regularly can start to engage in negative behaviors, like frequent tantrums or hitting other children or animals. Your child isn’t being “bad,” or trying to be manipulative. He’s telling you he needs something, which includes needing your attention to survive and grow.

Children who are preschool-aged and older can go for longer times with less attention. It’s exciting, for example, that you can sometimes cook dinner while she sits at the table happily drawing a picture.

This is the time to tell her how much you appreciate her focusing on her drawing. Take a moment to notice the colors she is using and give her a kiss or pat her shoulder. By giving her this positive attention, you may be able to avoid the scene below.

Positive Attention

There are plenty of ways to make sure your child is getting the kind of attention they need.

Too Little, Too Much or Just the Right Amount

You cannot give your child “too much” love. Denying or withholding attention from your child will not teach them to be independent or to “behave.”

Give your child lots of attention for the things they are doing that you like. And, especially as your child gets older, set clear boundaries and natural consequences for their actions. Encourage and support them to be independent – which includes giving them positive attention. You’ll create a calmer home now and will be building a better relationship for the future.


This article is brought to you by Parenting Now! Parenting Educators and authors, Tova Stabin, Claire Davis and Lynne Swartz and consultant Jay Thompson ( Parenting Now! is passionate about happy, healthy families. For more information about Parenting Now! contact us here.

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