Parents Plus & Parents First Psychology Led Service

Why my behaviour might become more ‘demanding’ during uncertain times

What you might notice me doing

Being unable to settle to sleep and/or waking more.

Displaying younger ‘babyish’ behaviours.

Having frequent tears and tantrums or becoming withdrawn.

Trying to gain your attention by any means possible.

Becoming more ‘clingy’ and needing to be carried and held more.

Why this is happening

I pick up on how the adults around me are feeling as well as to the changes in my normal routine.

Being worried switches on what is known as my ‘attachment system’.

This is automatic and is not something I have control over.

It ‘tells’ me to get close to you as soon as possible so I can feel safe and protected.

I will continue to seek contact and comfort in any way I can (in both positive and negative ways) until my need is met.

This can feel stressful and tiring for you but it is not purposeful or intentional. I’m not yet able to think about your feelings.

Ways to help me

Routines: predictable routines will help me feel safe and secure.

Play with me: play is the normal way for me to cope with stress and make sense of things going on around me. Coming down to the floor will help ease the strain of you holding me.

Interact with me: chatting, reading and singing will interest and calm me.

Touch will soothe and comfort me.

Talk to me: give me simple explanations and say out loud what you think I might be feeling e.g., “I think you are sad because you are missing Nanny”.

Reframing: Think of my behaviour as ‘attachment seeking’ as opposed to ‘attention seeking’.

Look After Yourself – so you are better able to look after me.

Created by Educational Psychologists @ Cardiff Parenting Service

For more information, advice or support please contact Cardiff Family Gateway:

Telephone: 03000 133 133



Adapted from ‘Fact sheet for parents: coronavirus/children/ mental health’.

Association for Infant Mental Health (April 2020)

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