My 1-year-old son likes his mom a lot. He never wants to leave her side and this is kind of a problem for her and sort of for me. She has to do domestic work but he doesn't like to stay with me. It's like a stranger holding someone else's baby.

How do I get him to like me as much as he likes his mom? For example play with me, be comfortable even more around me,...

  • 1
    Who puts the kid to bed? Something that we have done around that age is I will start putting the baby to bed by myself. It's hard at first, but it provides quiet bonding time away from mom.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 14:55
  • well we both do the job as he sleeps in the same room with us
    – user19897
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 11:41

3 Answers 3


From experience with our first 2-year old:

  1. The parent with less time has to simply put in more time to build the relationship with the kid. Gotta differentiate yourself from moms, make yourself fun and interesting in other ways. This is a pure marketing job.

  2. Mom has to help by constantly verbally convincing the kid that it's awesome and safe and whatever other good stuff works, to hang out with dad, too. That dad can also change diapers, play with toys, read books for bed, etc. This actually lowers mom's own workload, so benefits are doubled. There's a lengthy period of time where the kid believes every single word the primary caregiver says, so using this is a big step forward towards building an independent relationship.

Be prepared for it taking however long it takes. Keep in mind the moms has about a 2-year relationship building head start (9 mo belly time, 1+ year of nursing etc). There's no schedule and no way to artificially rush building a relationship, other than advancing it day by day. It's a marathon, not a sprint, and whatever happens at first, dad's unique skills become relevant sooner or later.


It's easy for this kind of dynamic to happen when you have one parent at home all the time and another at work, or one parent travels. It's also pretty easy to solve, it's just a matter of spending time one on one with your child, without your spouse around. If your spouse is there it will be too easy for your child to depend on her. So give her a couple hours off each weekend to get out of the house while you play with him and read to him. Use TV as a tactical tool to occupy him for short times, giving you breaks when you need it, but try not to rely on it if you can avoid it as it won't help you build a relationship.

Even better, take your son out and do things with him. These don't have to be complicated or special, in fact they can be simple errands, but you will be spending time with him and he'll recognize that. My son liked (and still does) going to the store with me, he thought riding in the card was great fun. Go on a bus or train ride, most kids love that sort of thing.

Also, get involved with taking care of your kid if you aren't already. Change diapers and clothes, feed him, read him a story and put him to bed. It's not just doing things with him on the weekends, it's also the day to day interactions.

  • You are right about that TV stuff, well I don't watch TV myself, I barely do and I don't let him watch it either cause it makes kids dumb and they need interaction, right? as I told you I was away from him for 1 year. TV is never going to be an option for me, I am going to stick with him( I missed him a lot) and your TV part made me laugh LOL. Nice answer
    – user19897
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 13:48
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    There's nothing wrong with TV in moderation I think. Sure, most of it isn't educational but sometimes entertainment is ok just on its own.
    – GdD
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 14:39
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    Yep, this answer is a perfect complement to my earlier thoughts. Alone time is a very good thing. I still remember the surprise we had, when we walked home from wherever all together, and at the door I turned around to get groceries, asking the kid to come along just to see what happens. To our complete surprise she waved at mom like "bye moms, you can go home now, I'm going shopping" and off the two of us went to get groceries, for the first time. After a 30-second "uh, what just happened here" eyeballing, that is. Such experiences confirm that yes, keep at it and it will work out.
    – lkraav
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 21:54

I am sorry to tell you but it is going to get worse before it gets better. I have three kids (8, 5 and 3). Here is the deal. Three year old's are the worst, and the period between 2 and 4 is one of the most challenging you will face (outside of teenage years which I am not close to and can't comment on).

If you are not the dominant caregiving parent (meaning, not around the child 24 hours a day), then I'd like to reiterate what the posts above have said. Whether you are being accepted by the child or not, by being a presence in its life, and available (when you are around them) will go a long way towards building a relationship with them. Keep trying even if the rejection is constant, they will give in eventually.

Also, be silly. Kids love it when you are silly, and let's face it, we can all take ourselves a bit too seriously at times. Being Silly kills two birds with one stone, and should be applied generously.

  • don't worry about being silly, even my wife keeps on telling me I am silly. Its good to be silly, it keeps a happy environment and that is another reason why our conversation never ends and we laugh all day long :) ...seriously it NEVER ENDS LOL, we have so many topics to finish and I keep on forgetting most of them
    – user19897
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 2:49

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