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Our 20-month-old constantly demands that we pick him up, usually only when we are at home. Once picked up he will normally direct us into the kitchen where he will point at foods etc. that he wants to touch/taste/smell or other interesting objects. He isn't normally hungry, just curious, which is obviously great however it's got to the point where my wife and I can hardly sit down for longer than a minute and our backs are breaking.

We feel that we shouldn't give in to his demands to be picked up all the time and on the few times we've said no he has a tantrum. How should we best deal with this behaviour?

  • Does he have a toy box? A playmat to sit on, that kind of thing? Maybe some large legos (Duplo) ? – vikingsteve Sep 20 '16 at 10:06
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Pick him up when it's not inconvenient - he's almost certainly learning useful information from the excursions - and when it is inconvenient, put him off with a simple explanation, like "daddy is busy right now, sorry", or "I can do it in five minutes if you're quiet". If you say "if you're quiet", be sure you don't give in if he has a tantrum instead, but do follow through if he is quiet.

You could also occasionally redirect him by suggesting he point at things which you can then get down and show him. If it's something harmless, you might let him play with it to give you some quiet time - but be prepared for the mess afterwards.

He's almost two. There will be some tantrums. You're going to be dealing with tantrums for a couple of years. Might as well start learning how to cope with them now

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If your kid is 20 months old - can he walk? (Or "waddle" a bit?) You could instead of carrying him everywhere help him "walking" there, so that he can explore a bit himself.

Does he play a lot with toys? At that age kids still need heavy supervision, but you could sit down with him and show him toys, touch them, smell them. Maybe get together a box of "kid-safe" stuff and hand it to him, so he can dig through it. As a bonus for that: He can also start to learn "cleaning up" at that age, you could do that together if everything is scattered around.

It's pretty normal that kids at that age still want the help and safety of adults to show them around, but you can definitely already make some first steps to minor autonomy.

Warren Dew's answer is also very good in regards to "in 5 minutes" and tantrums. You don't have to do everything they say and kids will throw tantrums because of that - but they must understand this somewhere down the line, and sooner is better than later.

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It's natural for the age to do peculiar things like the ones mentioned. And he seems to be a curious boy which is indeed good and a positive behavior. If you can, please do acquiesce his demands. If not able to do so, try to divert him. You know him very well and the things he is attracted to. Try to take him out for a walk. Play some cartoons on TV. But altogether don't stop attending to his demands. It will increase the tantrums. I assure you that kids behavior change day by day and I know it as a fact. Rest assured he is going to come out of this behavior in no time. Having said that, please be prepared for something new the next time. Happy parenting!

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