Let’s explore the child/student who constantly needs attention…
Why do some kids demand more attention than others? Is it a nature versus nurture debate, a birth order factor, a learned behavior, all three, or something else?
As a teacher and parent, I am always reflecting on what might cause certain behaviors in kids that will get in their way. When kids are babies, we remove things that can harm them such as poisons, glass, small sharp objects, etc. So why shouldn’t we try to help kids remove behaviors before they become habitual and almost impossible to break? After all, who wants to go through life needing a ton of attention? This need always disappointment and dissatisfaction with most people and experiences…life is too short for that!
It’s been my experience as a Mom of 3 and teacher of thousands that kids who demand constant attention need 3 things:
1. Frequent, useful feedback that helps them know what they are doing WELL and RIGHT.
2. Clear oral and/or written instructions that give them a roadmap for completing tasks INDEPENDENTLY.
3. Firm but loving explanations about why they can’t have unlimited attention while redirecting them to activities that will engage them.
If kids are demanding unreasonable time and attention, come back to these 3 important needs and you will gradually empower them to be considerate of others, to wait patiently, and to problem solve on their own. That’s a great gift!