Here is a parenting challenge: do you have a child that seems to always be craving your attention? Do you find yourself being asked non-stop by your child to check out every move they make? Even in the car, kids will ask Mommy and Daddy to turn around to look at something that they are drawing, or at something passing by, or a funny face he is making, etc.
Most parents get upset after a while because it seems that the child is not taking into consideration what their Mom or Dad is doing at that time. You should not get frustrated because for the most part a child’s mind cannot grasp that you are busy doing something else, even though they can clearly see with their eyes. Although it is understandable that some of these “calls for attention” can be annoying, it is important to learn to appreciate your child’s needs.
You see, a child does many things that he considers to be very exciting and all he wants to do is share them with his parents. Think about the little things in life that you find interesting and exciting and wanted to show somebody. Remember when you couldn’t wait to show off those new shoes? Or how about getting your buddy’s to come over and watch the game on your new plasma television? Well it is no different for a child, except that they do not have the instant ability to understand that you may be busy, driving, or reading a book.
Your child thrives on positive feedback. He needs to hear words of encouragement and to know that he he is doing something “good” that will impress you. As he perfects a skill at something or creates something new to show you, all he wants is to be praised. He is just seeking acknowledgment. They want to hear words like “That was a great drawing,” “Nice catch,” or “I love how well you do that.”
For the most part, parents underestimate how important the simple act of watching is to their children. And if you are watching your child without being asked, then that sends a very strong message of love and acceptance to his little mind.
Children who grow up with this kind of attention wind up having a very strong self image. And the opposite can happen too. If your little one does not get enough attention and acceptance then he may grow up with an unhealthy self image because he feels that what he does is not valuable enough.
One word of caution: Know when to watch your child without asking, but draw the line when it comes to giving too much unwanted advice. If your child is asking you to watch him participate in some sort of activity, do not be over-controlling when it comes to correcting him. A child who says “watch me” wants approval, not coaching. For example, if you child asks you to “watch me catch this ball” then watch and play, do not start giving him instructions and correcting him. His enthusiasm will fade.