We have a 3-year-old boy who spends most of his time at home. Oftentimes, while we are trying to work, or teaching our older kids, the boy will start to climb on top of us. Telling him "Stop" doesn't seem to work. If I carry him and put him back on the floor gently, within a minute he will be climbing on me again. His climbing over us can be annoying, but also cause us to feel quite beat up physically, and exhausted.

What should we do to prevent him from climbing over us, or at least to keep this activity restricted to certain times when we can tolerate it?

I wonder if this is related to another problem we have, which is that sometimes, he will complain, "No one is playing with me, I need someone to play with me." It's not that the older kids are not available, he just seems to want/need his parents to play with him.

  • 2
    "he just seems to want/need his parents to play with him". Nailed it. It's when it seems a 3 year old doesn't have these needs you should be alarmed.
    – user36162
    Sep 6, 2019 at 22:18

3 Answers 3


I would add to EmandM's excellent answer that 3 is old enough to begin to learn about other people's bodily boundaries, and in general that one does not touch others in a way (or at a time) that is unwanted. You can tell him, "I don't want to play this way right now. Please give me some space!" You can also redirect to a type of touch or a time that IS acceptable. "But I would love a hug" or " We can wrestle after dinner". Keep it friendly but firm when you let him know what the boundary is, and escalate as needed if he then chooses to ignore it.

You may have to enforce your boundaries with whatever disciple technique you commonly use until he begins to get the idea. (I don't mean to suggest anything too harsh, he's just seeking your love and attention-- but he should get the message that doing it in a way that is painful to you, and continuing after you have asked him to stop, is not acceptable in your family).

It is absolutely crucial, in my opinion, for kids to learn that they must respect other peoples' "no" when it comes to physical touch, and that means parents as well. If someone says stop, they should stop right away, and if they tell someone else to stop touching them, they should expect, even demand, the same. It's a cornerstone of successful social interaction as an older child and adult, but a hard lesson at first for a toddler, who may still be coming to terms with the idea that other people have their own needs/wants/feelings.

Overall, he sounds like he's mostly bored and seeks attention and connection. Being home most of the time and entertaining himself while parents give their focused attention to work or older kids is not an easy thing for a little child, even with other kids to play with. He might respond well to being given some 'homework' in the form of puzzles, coloring, etc while you are teaching the others, or to having more one-on-one time with adults.


It sounds like he's looking for your attention, which is normal and natural in a small child. He wants to know that he's loved and wanted by you.

If you are not enjoying this particular attention seeking behaviour, give him attention in a more manageable way. Play games with him, let him help with tasks around the house, do activities with him directly. Give him attention in a positive way that you control and he will seek it less in a way that makes you uncomfortable.


My husband pretends to be hurt...its actually kind of funny, so sometimes I have to hold back my laughter. I also have a 3 year old and he plays really rough. It might help to pretend he hurt you and start "fake" crying for a few seconds, then maybe ask for a hug and tell him to be more careful next time. It kinda sounds like he wants more attention though... Best of luck to ya!

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .