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All moms long for their babies to need them, but when a child is always clinging to their mother- it can be hard to get anything done. When this happens, a mother’s first instinct is to wonder what is going on.

While some kids are naturally more clingy than others, when a child suddenly becomes clingier than usual, there is typically a reason. Some of these reasons are pretty simple, while others can be pretty complex. If you’ve noticed your child being extra clingy lately, here are 5 reasons why and what you can do to help.

1. They are going through a major change.

If you and your partner have recently moved, have been fighting, or have been under a lot of stress, your child feels that too. They can feel that and sense that, and it can make them feel insecure. This can lead them to cling more. During this time, try to reassure your child and let them know everything is okay and that they are safe and loved.

2. They have a touch need.

Many kids need more affection than others. While it may come at an inopportune time, more often than not, if you take a moment to give them a hug and rub their back when they start clinging, they will let go and move on.

3. Inconsistency at home.

If your child has no routine they can depend on, it can make them feel stressed. To kids, life is already so much more intense, because they have little power over what happens to them. To help, give them a consistent (as much as possible) routine, which will help alleviate some stress for them, by giving them a sense of control.

4. Fear.

Kids are more sensitive to fear than adults are, so things that don’t bother us, may terrify them. If you are on the playground and your shy little one clings to you, let them know they are safe, and introduce them to another child that is around. Or, simply engage with them to distract them from their fear.

5. Lack of attention.

If you’ve been working extra hours, or otherwise busier lately, your child is going to be clingier. You can help with this by spending some quality time with them. Talk to them and let them know what has been going on (age appropriately) and assure them that you are going to start spending more time with them.