How To Break A Clingy Toddler (Tips On How To “Uncling” Them)

Are you tired of constantly having your toddler cling to you like a koala bear?

Does it feel like you can’t even leave their side without them bursting into tears?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Many parents struggle with clingy toddlers, and it can be tough to know how to handle it.

In this article, we’ll explore some tips and tricks to help you break your toddler’s clinginess and give you both some much-needed space.

Understanding Clingy Behavior in Toddlers

Before we dive into strategies for breaking clingy behavior, it’s important to understand why toddlers can become clingy in the first place.

Clinginess is a natural phase that many toddlers go through as they begin to develop a sense of independence.

Toddlers often cling to their parents or primary caregivers because they feel safe and secure in their presence.

Clinginess can also be a sign of anxiety or insecurity.

Toddlers who are going through major life changes, such as starting daycare or moving to a new home, may become clingy as a way to cope with the stress and uncertainty.

Tips for Breaking Clingy Behavior in Toddlers

  1. Encourage Independence: One of the best ways to break clingy behavior is to encourage independence in your toddler. Start by giving them small tasks to do on their own, such as picking out their clothes or putting away toys. Praise them for their efforts and encourage them to keep trying new things.
  2. Practice Separation: It can be tough to leave your clingy toddler, but practicing separation can help them become more comfortable with being apart from you. Start by leaving your toddler with a trusted caregiver for short periods of time and gradually increase the length of time you’re away.
  3. Set Boundaries: It’s important to set boundaries with your toddler to help them understand that it’s okay to be apart from you. Let them know when you need some space and encourage them to play on their own or with siblings or friends.
  4. Provide Reassurance: Toddlers who are feeling anxious or insecure may need extra reassurance from their parents. Let your toddler know that you love them and that they’re safe and secure with you. Provide plenty of hugs and cuddles, but also encourage them to explore and play on their own.
  5. Be Consistent: Consistency is key when it comes to breaking clingy behavior. Stick to your routines and boundaries, and be consistent with your praise and encouragement for independent behavior.
  6. Plan Fun Activities: Plan fun activities for your toddler to do on their own or with other children. This can help them develop social skills and become more comfortable with being apart from you.
  7. Be Patient: Breaking clingy behavior takes time and patience. Don’t expect your toddler to change overnight, and be prepared for setbacks along the way. Remember to stay positive and keep encouraging your toddler to be independent.

Additional Resources for Breaking Clingy Behavior

If you’re still struggling with your toddler’s clingy behavior, there are plenty of resources available to help.

Here are a few to consider:

  • The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine Aron: This book offers insights and strategies for parenting a highly sensitive child, which can often be the root cause of clingy behavior.
  • Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne: This book provides practical advice for simplifying your family’s life and creating a calm, nurturing environment for your child.
  • The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp: This book offers insights into understanding your toddler’s behavior and provides practical tips for dealing with challenging behaviors.


Breaking clingy behavior in toddlers can be tough, but it’s important to remember that it’s a natural phase that many children go through.

By encouraging independence, practicing separation, setting boundaries, providing reassurance, being consistent, and planning fun activities, you can help your toddler develop the skills and confidence they need to explore the world on their own.

It’s also important to be patient and remember that breaking clingy behavior takes time.

Don’t be discouraged if your toddler experiences setbacks along the way.

With love, support, and consistency, you can help your child grow into a confident and independent individual.

Remember, every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another.

Be open to trying new strategies and approaches until you find what works best for your child and your family.

With these tips and resources, you can break your toddler’s clingy behavior and help them develop the skills they need to thrive in the world around them.

So take a deep breath, stay positive, and know that you’ve got this!

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