Our daughter is almost 1 years old and is a very well-developed for her stage child. She is now quite attached to her mother, me, and wants to be picked up many times a day. I work part-time 3 days a week and spend basically all day long with her. Naturally, I pick her up as much as I am able to. However, unsurprisingly, there will be moments when I have to attend to a stove or some chore and can't pick her up at that very moment. I strive to speak to her in a soothing voice, telling her I will be with her shortly.

Is there any additional gesture I can use to indicate I will attend to her as soon as I can or even if she cannot comprehend words yet, she should grasp what I mean when I explain to her I cannot at that moment? Should I stick to a particular set of words each time so she can associate them with a slightly delayed response from me vs any deliberate indifference on my part?

3 Answers 3


Since my daughter was young I've always used key phrases to give her a sense of when things will happen. "In a moment " is for when something will be soon but not right now and "later" for things that will happen later on in the day. I tried to stick to these two only, especially when she was little, but now that she's about to turn three I also usually add a time frame.

But what I have found to be most important is that I keep my word to her. Out of respect for her and to build trust, I ensure that I will do as I say. If I say I'll play lego with her later, I make sure to do so. Because that way she can trust me at my word, and that I won't forget her or ignore her for long. I want to ensure she trusts that I will do as I say I will. Now she's a bit older and when I say "later" she usually is satisfied with that.


A strong attachment is very important for your daughter (and any child). But the key part isn't that you fulfill every need or even every wish, and even when you do, it doesn't have to be in that moment - what your kid needs is to be recognized, to experience that their needs are seen and valued. "I understand that you want to be picked up, and I understand that your are sad/angry/frustrated. But mommy has to/wants to ... right now, so I will pick you up later." Don't expect a one year old to grasp the concept of "later", it's to early in their brain development. But the important message here should be "I see you, I value you, you are entitled to your feelings and wishes (but not for every one of those to come true).".

So, from what you're describing, it sounds like you're handling those situations in a very good way. Don't worry to much about the words, but keep the empathy, and keep it showing in your voice.


I think it's important to let her know early on who makes the time schedules. Hint, It's not her.

First though you obviously need to check that her need isn't actually urgent.

If she is simply wanting attention, or to play etc. Simply tell her that you have other things you need to do, and you will attend to her when you're finished. Don't worry if she doesn't understand the words yet.

Having informed her thusly, simply carry on with your tasks.

If she makes a fuss, simply ignore it.

It's important that she learn that adults have important things to do.

It's important also that you value your own time, and your own jobs you need to do.

Imagine for example, if you lived in hunter gatherer times. If you didn't hunt or collect food, and instead chose to just play and interact with a fussing toddler, the whole family would go hungry.

In modern times obviously the basic requirements for survival have been a bit abstracted, but the principal remains the same.

For an adult, work comes first, before play. It's important, and should not be disregarded on the misguided idea that the child's wants always come first.

Having said that, if possible, it's a great idea to get her involved in some way in what you're doing. Even if this is just you talking about what you're doing, why you're doing it etc. Once again, don't worry if she doesn't understand most of what you're saying yet. You'll be helping her learn her language skills anyway.

It is a good thing for children to see adults busy about important tasks.

So many kids unfortunately grow up seeing idle, useless parents, and learn to be idle and useless themselves.


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