Attention Seeking Behaviors ~ by Patience Domowski, LCSW
If your child is a little “Attention Whore” constantly craving attention and trying to get attention even if they are given plenty of positive attention from parents, etc, parents might need to try some strategies to teach appropriate attention seeking behavior.
· Teach your child it’s okay to play alone
-have them go play for a few minutes at a time, slowly increasing the time spent alone, and then give them a lot of one on one attention after those few successful minutes
-give your child some toys they can only play with/have when mom/dad is too busy to engage with them (like while driving, on the phone, in a conversation, etc).
· Make a list with your child of things they can do alone, such as…
-play with toys
-read a book
· Teach your child how to ask for attention appropriately
[instead of hitting/yelling/etc]
-such as by saying “excuse me” and waiting until good time to talk
-start a conversation
-asking a question
-ask someone to play nicely
-ask for a hug
-ask for attention “Mom, can I have some attention!”
· Ignore your child if they are asking for attention at the wrong time or in the wrong way.
-Remind them to ask appropriately and wait for them to do so.
- Then immediately provide social reinforcement such as praise when they do so appropriately.
-Provide attention when it’s appropriate time and they ask correctly
[Note: If you are giving your child attention such as answering their questions/doing what they request/ etc when they are asking for attention inappropriately (such as hitting/interrupting/etc) then they will continue that behavior. Instead have them wait or ask appropriately for what they need and then parent should give attention at that time. ]