33 answers

Excessive Neediness?

Hey moms! Our son is 14 mos now and a great little guy, but I find myself baffled by a recent behavior development. I know that lots of kids go through separation issues and I don't know what to do. He's fine most of the day when we are together except when I go into the kitchen to make food for a meal, even his. He starts by working his way into the kitchen, then goes for my legs and won't let go! Even if I am standing at the counter, he will push until he works his way to the front of my legs and won't let go. He just holds on with both hands, looks up at me and starts to whine and then cry and scream if I don't pick him up to let him see what I am doing. Once he's off his feet, he's fine and wanting to touch hot things on the stove. At one time, we had a baby gate installed in the entrance of the kitchen, and he would hold onto the bars and cry when I was in there. It doesn't matter if he has toys or distractions or even if my husband is home and is playing with him. Our son just pushes him out of the way to get to me. The minute I go in there to prepare food, he's on me like glue, clawing at me and crying as if to say "pick me up!" I am sure everyone is familiar with this look!
Really, I am looking for realistic suggestions on how to make this stop without making him either reject me completely or need therapy at age 5 because I can't fulfill his "needs" while I am trying to cook dinner. I have tried to redirect his focus with books and toys and even my husband, tried to communicate through signs that it is dangerous for him to be near a hot stove, etc. He's just little enough that nothing is really working and he is so determined and stubborn....ugh!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi L.,

When my son did this, I put him in his high chair so that he could see what I was doing and talked out loud to describe everything I was doing. This helped him him to have an amazing vocabulary at a very young age once he started speaking. I also gave him some "tastes" of each thing that I was making so that he could see the relationships between how foods could go together.
Good luck!
C.

3 moms found this helpful

L.,

My 14 month old son started something similar. What I have been doing is a combination of things. He knows that when I am in the kitchen he is going to get some food. I have discovered he has no concept that creating dinner is not an instant thing. So, I have begun to give him a small snack, either in a snack cup at my feet or in his high chair. I tell him what I am doing and talk to him about it. The snack and drink really seem to help him.

When he does want me to pick him up I tell him that "Mommies hands are busy" and I bend down and show him what I am doing.

He also has a drawer filled with Tupperware, a cupboard filled with all sorts of things that make noise and are fun to play with. (pots, bowls, pitchers, etc.) These are all just things we know we wash before we use them:-)

These things usually last until the meal is ready. If it is going to be a bit longer I pull his high chair up in the kitchen and watches while I finish up. I found if I put him up too early he gets antsy. I usually give him some spoons and things to bang on his try or some other tactile thing to do.

It is not a perfect system, but it seems to be working so far.

3 moms found this helpful

My son is also 14 months, and a very independent little guy. Until I'm in the kitchen, that is. He knows that the kitchen means food, and that Mommy has GOT to be doing something fun. He wants to know what it is, and he wants to eat (I swear he's always hungry). I put him in his highchair in the kitchen so that he can see everything, but can't reach. It's the ONLY thing that works for us.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I'll bet you'll hear from dozens of moms that their little ones do this. My daughter did, and now my grandson, too. There's instant magnetic attraction when you combine mommies with food preparation. Plus, it's dinnertime and everybody's hungry. Plus, your son is big enough to be genuinely interested in the fascinating and complicated things mommy and daddy get to do. And if you were that short, wouldn't you want to be up where all the interesting stuff is going on?

Can you give a few minutes of your prep time to including him in your activity? Just plan for it as part of your kitchen activity. It may seem inconvenient and intrusive, but that's what it is anyway, and neither your son nor you are getting any pleasure from the current situation. You can make it happier for you all!

I agree with Marda that you might try a high chair near the stove, close enough for him to "participate" by stirring a bowl or pan (bigger- more "special" – than his usual food bowl), with maybe a few slices of banana, a broken cracker, cheese, water or milk, shredded wheat, some nutritious leftovers, whatever you wouldn't mind finding its way into his mouth. A plastic knife, a few grains of salt, a rubber scraper, some chopped parsley - look around for new props every few days.

It also helps to teach "hot" as one of a child's first words. This was wonderful for both my daughter and later my grandboy when they reached that "grab everything" stage. Sip a very warm, but not scalding cup, just barely within your son's reach. Warn him that it's HOT!!! and it could hurt if he touches it. Well, he will, and he'll pull his hand away (my grandson tried to wipe the "hot" off his fingers onto his shirt – very cute), and you can say the word again. Maybe touch the cup first yourself and pull away, exclaiming HOT!!!

This is a really easy, impressive, and harmless lesson for a child to learn, and an easy word for really young children to pronounce. Maybe repeat the lesson another time or two, if needed. Then you'll be able to warn him about what's hot. Even pre-verbal kids get it. (You will, of course, still need to be careful about keeping pan handles and other real hazards out of his reach for awhile. Little kids can get so eager to participate that they forget to be careful.)

If the high chair doesn't cut it, or wears thin after awhile, maybe daddy can play cooking games with your son. My son-in-law would set up a "kitchen" on a coffee table and start cooking with dry spaghetti and a big spoon in a pan. He'd have such obvious fun that my grandboy couldn't resist, and would head over there to help. Now that he's 2 1/2, he pulls a stool up to the stove and "helps" his mom. He's a little in the way, it's a little inconvenient, and it's just lovely to see him participating at the very heart of family activity. He can actually do a few tasks that are almost helpful. And he loves it. Who knows if this is how great chefs begin?

It's a stage, and an important one, I think. Your son is entering the great learning game of imitation. It's what little children do, what they need to do, what they are programmed to do. If you can find a way to allow him to participate in meal prep, you'll be able to gradually give him "real" tasks to "help" you. And eventually it will become helpful. Good luck.

6 moms found this helpful

Have you tried giving him a cupboard or drawer with cooking utensils in it so that he can "cook" right along with you?

Another suggestion is to put him in his high chair in the kitchen so he can see what you're doing but still be contained.

I think it would also be reasonable to tell him staying out of the kitchen is a rule and everytime he comes in immediately take him out and sit him down similar to a time out. On SuperNanny I've seen her show parents how to break this sort of thing by doing this every time he comes into the kitchen. It may take you a couple of hours to fix dinner and it may take more than one day but in the end you'll have trained him to stay out of the kitchen.

Keeping him out of the kitchen is not "not fulfilling his needs." The needs that the mental health people are talking about are those for love, food, sleep, healthy food, safety and boundaries. Staying out of the kitchen is an important boundary that he needs to learn for his own safety. There will be many, many times that you'll feel torn between enforcing boundaries and meeting his needs. Enforcing boundaries is absoulutely necessary if he is to grow up to be a responsible child and then adult.

I'm still often torn between wanting to give my grandchildren what they want and holding to a boundary. I've found it helps to decide ahead of time where I'll set the boundary. For example I freqently buy my granddaughter a toy when she goes to the store with me. JUst now I've decided I'm going to try enforcing a boundary that says I'll buy you a toy once/month. This means I'll have to keep track on the calender.

Her mother gets irritated when she comes home every time with a toy even tho it's inexpensive. She says I'm "spoiling" her. I tell her that "spoiling" is a grandmother's job.
:):):) However, I'm noticing that she now begs and becomes difficult when I don't buy the toy or do some of the other things for her that are not needed by her. I have difficulty holding my ground.

You probably will find taking her out of the kitchen every time difficult too. We mothers frequently feel that when our child crys it means he needs something. While the child learns that when he cries Mom will do what he wants.

Your son may be hungry and probably tired. My daughter gives her chldren carrot sticks or a piece of apple or crackers while she cooks and I've noticed that they stay out of the kitchen better and don't whine as much. The child's need is to satisfy his physical hunger. The child may also be tired to the point that they want to be held. You could experiment with snacks and nap times.

4 moms found this helpful

you say he wants to see what you are doing, bring his high chair over where you are and talk to him while you are doing things. Let him have items (food or things that you are using i.e. spatulas, pots, bowls, measuring spoons especially things he can see you are using.) Let him help by bringing the garbage to his high chair and have him throw items in. Bring a chair up to the sink and let him "wash" dishes while you are cooking- if you put items you have used in he sees that and feels he is helping. You will need to put towels down and then clean up but it is only water! There are also types of stools that enclose them if you are afraid of him falling, but I have found that get comfortable pretty fast. Put him in a back pack and let him hold measuring spoons, etc. Put him on the counter if there is one he can see from but not be too close to the stove. He might be wanting to taste foods you are preparing or he doesn't think about his hunger until this is triggering it. All sorts of things, but try different things and know that what works today probably won't work tomorrow and that this is just a stage that he will get through. I have 4 boys and they make it very hard to make dinner. You can also start things when he is down for a nap and just have a little to finish- put things in the crockpot or put things together and ready to bake, etc. Good luck- I know it is difficult but I have found that including them seems to make the stages go by easier.

3 moms found this helpful

Hi L.,
I have 3 boys, ages 8, 7 and 5. They all did the same thing as your son. And although you feel like you're going crazy at the time, before you know it, they will be off and running and you will wish they were still hanging on you. I agree with the other responses to have dad take him outside or on a walk, or even watching a few minutes of his favorite tv show while you're cooking. You definitely need to keep your sanity and it helps to have some "alone" time in the kitchen.

R.

3 moms found this helpful

Hi L.,

When my son did this, I put him in his high chair so that he could see what I was doing and talked out loud to describe everything I was doing. This helped him him to have an amazing vocabulary at a very young age once he started speaking. I also gave him some "tastes" of each thing that I was making so that he could see the relationships between how foods could go together.
Good luck!
C.

3 moms found this helpful

L.,

My 14 month old son started something similar. What I have been doing is a combination of things. He knows that when I am in the kitchen he is going to get some food. I have discovered he has no concept that creating dinner is not an instant thing. So, I have begun to give him a small snack, either in a snack cup at my feet or in his high chair. I tell him what I am doing and talk to him about it. The snack and drink really seem to help him.

When he does want me to pick him up I tell him that "Mommies hands are busy" and I bend down and show him what I am doing.

He also has a drawer filled with Tupperware, a cupboard filled with all sorts of things that make noise and are fun to play with. (pots, bowls, pitchers, etc.) These are all just things we know we wash before we use them:-)

These things usually last until the meal is ready. If it is going to be a bit longer I pull his high chair up in the kitchen and watches while I finish up. I found if I put him up too early he gets antsy. I usually give him some spoons and things to bang on his try or some other tactile thing to do.

It is not a perfect system, but it seems to be working so far.

3 moms found this helpful

The best and most realist thing you can do is to put the baby gate back up and ignore his wails. This is a big power play. And at this point you are loosing. This will set the rest of you life.

I speak from experience with a very strong willed child. Patience and rules is what I used with her at this age. It thought it would never end but it did.

His cries will increase to a point that you can't stand. If you can't stand it. Leave the kitchen and lock yourself in the bathroom--or such, or put him in his bedroom until supper is fixed.

It is dangerous to have him in the kitchen, on the counter, close to the hot stove, and knives. You are not being mean. You are keeping him safe.

Whatever you do. do it calmly, with out anger, only love and care. Put him safely down. Your husband sounds like he is a big help.

Don't pick him up when you are cooking.

3 moms found this helpful

Bring the hairchair into the kitchen. He can see what you are doing, snack a bit and he is safe.

3 moms found this helpful

My daughter started doing this too and I just got her involved. Sometimes I just put her in her Booster (we have a bar type counter and gave her some stuff to do. Like a child safe plastic knife and a hunk of cucumber. They can poke it and pretend to cut it. Or I let her color. Othertimes I just pull out the tupper ware, throw down a towel and give her a bowl of water to play in. Or I give her a small snack. It allowed her to be with me, but let me get dinner done. They make this really neat child stepstool that allows them to be counter level but it is safe as it has wood rail all around it. I dont know the name of it but I have friends who have it and love it. It is a bit spendy, but I have heard well worth it.
So, try and get him involved somehow and eventually he will give you the time to get your dinner done. Now my daughter comes and goes and doesnt demand my attention during that time as much.
Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful

That's right! Put the highchair where he can watch you and throw him a crumb not and again. He not only wants to be with you, but he is curious at what you are doing, so let him see. Just keep talking to him as you work and he should get the picture that you are with him, but you arent' going to pick him up.

2 moms found this helpful

Mine was and still is very much in need of mommy time, but thank goodness she is now able to entertain herself and enjoys watching movies, but it is only just recently that I have had some space, she is 2 1/2 now.
I found that bringing the highchair into the kitchen while I worked was a good option. She could be close to me, see what I was doing, and I would tell her what I was doing step by step. I used it as a way to teach her shapes, colors, tell her that knives and stoves are dangerous and why, etc. I would let her paint, color, stack blocks or play with things from the kitchen, let her feel the foods that I was cutting up, let her help mix things.
Enjoy the time with him, they do grow out of it eventually.

2 moms found this helpful

I have the same problem. I now run some water in the sink and let him play with a slotted spoon and other things with holes in it(so water doesn't fall on the floor) and sometimes put bubbles in the sink too. We have a stool that he can stand on so that he can play with the water/bubbles AND feel like he's part of what I'm doing. This has changed my life and let me get so much done while still letting him feel like he is helping with what I am doing too!

2 moms found this helpful

My son is also 14 months, and a very independent little guy. Until I'm in the kitchen, that is. He knows that the kitchen means food, and that Mommy has GOT to be doing something fun. He wants to know what it is, and he wants to eat (I swear he's always hungry). I put him in his highchair in the kitchen so that he can see everything, but can't reach. It's the ONLY thing that works for us.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Hi L.~

You actually might be presented with an excellent opportunity here! I see lots of suggestions on how to have him in the kitchen, and I have taken nutritional classes and read studies that say having babies involved in cooking creates less picky eaters and more appreciaters! I wish I had the website, but basically just use common sense here. I liked the one where someone said let him poke at a cucumber with a plastic knife (Pampered Chef has a special kids knife that is reasonable on cost and totally safe for kids to use - they have a variety of kids culinary tools actually that are wonderful). But if you have him "helping" you from early on it will teach him some very important things.

As he develops some more fine motor skills start pulling a chair in for him to be close and help out. We taught the babies from little, little things like "Ow, hot, blow" and we use signs http://www.parents.com/baby/development/intellectual/sign... . Now my two year-old helps stir and the three year-olds can help cut bananas and soft foods. They love spreading cheese on bread for cheesy bread or pouring things into the pot like cans of soup or sauce or spices (with mommy's hand making sure not too much goes in!). They can do more than most parents give them credit for. If you're unsure talk with your doctor based on their development what kitchen chores will be the best for them.

The end result is a child who loves to help AND cook! Who wouldn't like that benefit! Plus with them helping me it meant I didn't have THREE kids under my feet and legs (so yes I did that stage too). Dinner may take just a little longer but the long-term benefits are fantastic!

2 moms found this helpful

L.,

You could be describing my daughter nearly to a T. She is 18 months old and only just now getting over her super-cling-to-Mom stage. Up until about a month ago she only wanted me for everything.

During this time she'd try to do what your little one is doing. We keep the baby gate up at the kitchen doorway for several reasons, mainly because I don't want my kids getting into the cat food/litterbox.

One thing that helps me when she's super cranky/needy and fussing at the gate is to give her little nibbles of what I'm making. Or I put her in her high chair with a small snack so she can see what I'm doing, but is out of the way.

For the wanting to touch hot stuff, her thing was my candle flames. I keep them way out of reach when burning, but she was bound and determined to touch one. One day when she was being more insistent that normal about it I let her touch the flame. It was a totally controlled thing with the candle stationary, her in my arms, and my hubby right next to us. She kept reaching for the candle and I'd tell her: no, hot! She insisted and I let her get just within arms reach. She reached out, grabbed the flame and hasn't gone near a candle since. We've tried a couple of times, but she shakes her head no and leans away from the flame.

For your little one, I'd let him touch the door to the oven one day when you're baking. Do it on a day when you have a few minutes down time. Let him try, tell him no hot, let him insist and let him touch it. Kids like our little ones need to learn by doing, not us telling them. I don't see the harm in letting them learn, as long as the situation is totally controlled. That way they don't pull down a pan of boiling water on their head.

Good luck and hope this helps,
M.

2 moms found this helpful

My daughter is 18 months and does the same thing. I don't really think she is that interested in what I'm doing but it's just the fact of being close to mommy. I suggest outside play with daddy during cooking time or my daughter gets to watch 1 hour of tv a day. She loves Mickey Mouse and so she watches that for 30 minutes while I cook. It usually entertains her for at least 30 minutes if dad is not home. I also let her play with plastic bowls and lids while I am cooking. It works sometimes and other times it doesn't. Good Luck! I know how you feel. You just want to cook a good dinner and not have to entertain while doing it.

1 mom found this helpful

First of all, you are worrying too much! This is normal with some children and will pass. One of my kids did this and I found that if I put her in her highchair with either toys or something to snake on or drink, she would be fine. She liked being in the kitchen with me and up where she could see what was going on.

1 mom found this helpful

I used to have this problem with my daughter although I was more worried about her being underfoot around knives. There was no room to put a high chair in the kitchen and it was WAY TOO dangerous to have her in there "helping" because she was too active to stay doing some benign play-task while I was cooking. We tried the "touching the outside of the oven" thing to show it was hot and it just didn't work - she simply didn't comprehend the danger or why it meant she couldn't be with mommy right then.

My advice is to either have your husband take your son out of the house, or to give him his bath then, or be where he doesn't KNOW what you're doing. Or work out a temporary deal with a neighbor and have YOU leave and cook in someone else's kitchen. If your hubby isn't home, you may have to put your son in his playpen or high chair or crib (or whereever he can't get out of) and let him cry it out. Sometimes they have to get tired of crying to see that you mean it -- if your son wanted out of his carseat when you were driving, wouldn't you rather let him cry than be unsafe? But if you do let him cry, then afterward I think it's appropriate to give extra cuddling time or special story time to reassure him that mom loves him.

But you can do things during naptime or after bedtime to pre-prep foods so you have less active time in the kitchen right before dinnertime. Also, you can choose alternate foods or prep methods. Pre-chop veggies and salad fixings, marinate meats during naptime, bake rice instead of having a hot pan on the stovetop, pre-cook pasta to al-dente and store it in ziptop baggies, then just boil 2 minutes to reheat or add sauce and bake, use the microwave to steam-cook vegetables, fry foods ahead of time and recrisp/reheat in the oven, etc.

We had appliances that had child lockouts (oven door, fridge ice maker, dishwasher door and buttons) which was a GREAT help.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I know that at this age, especially, they want to see what's going on. They want to see what you're doing. And yes, the separation anxiety begins.
One thing that is an option is to get a carrier so that you can put him on your back. There are a few that allow him to be high enough to see over you shoulder and you can explain to him what you are doing while you are doing it. This is also great for his development. He learns so much by being able to see what you do.
There are a few kinds of carriers that allow him to be high enough to view over your shoulder. The easiest are either a BeiBei or a Mei Tei. You can view the BeiBei's on www.mybeibei.com. There are a lot of different Mei Tei carriers out there. I like DreamCarriers (www.dreamcarriers.com) or a BabyHawk.
You can go to www.nwbabywearers.org to find the local Babywearing Support group near you. They are a non-profit support group that have libraries of carriers that you can check out and try so you know what works for you before buying one. They can also help you with how to use the different carriers.
People with heavy babies LOVE the Ergo carrier. My only beef with the Ergo is that they are facing the middle of your back instead of being high enough to look over your shoulder.

This will help you with the sudden separation anxiety. He will be able to get what he needs by being close to you, and you can still get stuff done. :)

Of course, there are many other carriers that allow him to sit on your hip or on the front (the 2 I mentioned do those as well), but of course, you wouldn't want him there while you were cooking. When he's on your back, he can't really reach for the stove. :)

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

i think i'm repeating people, but, what i do is encourage my daughter to be involved, so long as she isn't in my way. She has a shelf of mixing bowls and a drawer of tupperware that she can play with. She also likes to put things away, so i can ask her to help me whenever i need to put something away, or 'hold on tight' to carry something across the room.
To teach 'hot' i show her how to really quickly tap my mug when it is hot, and she got it. Now i can say, 'hot, don't touch', and she seems to understand. Otherwise, if she gets to obstinate about wanting to do something i can't let her i give her one warning, and then move her far away from the item and put her down. She usually stops right away when she realizes that i'm not playing games, and i try not to do this unless i'm really serious so it doesn't lose it's impact.

If you have a backpack you could also try letting your kids ride in the backpack while you work. I had better luck with this when my daughter was small, though.

1 mom found this helpful

My Daughter used to do the same thing. So we took her booster seat that has the tray that attaches to that and sat that on the counter so she could sit and watch me cook. It was and is great (she is 19 months old) we are still doing it. But it keeps her out of the way of my legs... away from the hot stove and she can see what is going on! If you don't have one you can get them at target or wal-mart for about 15 dollars. Which isnt that bad. It would be cheaper then a trip to the hospital if he gets burned. I think a lot of it has to do with the curious-ness of what you are doing up on those high counters they can't see and don't understand.
Hope that helps and good luck!
Cori

1 mom found this helpful

You are experiencing the first power struggle of your parenthood ( but not the last). Little guys this age have discovered that Mommy is NOT a part of THEM - and it scares em. He likely really gets that cooking is something you really pay attention to ( go figure - knives- heat- desire for the 'recipe' to work- you are paying attention) -- but your attention is so precious to him- that it upsets him to see you 'glued' to your work. He is trying to make you stop. You can't. Can your husband take him to a different area of the house? - take him to his bedroom and do something fun- pretend that ''little boy' is a vacuum and hold him over his toys to pick them up - or --- give him a bath - or - take him outside - this stage will fade in a few weeks and he'll feel more balanced. SOOOOOO much happens in little children at this stage in their lives. Nover again in his life will he learn as much, discover as much- develop so fast - > Once children turn 2 the speed slows down a bit - but Birth to 2 years is called '''the Golden Years' because it is SO crucial for who he'll grow into. You can draw a line and must for his safety '''no grabbing when Mom is cooking- not safe'' and then make it stick. Blessings -

Old Mom
(raised 3 children as a single parent - and am now helping raise grandchildren plus I work with preschoolers -- ohhhh I love this age)

1 mom found this helpful

I think cooking and cleaning the kitchen were the hardest times for my son to part with me at that age. He hated to see me SO intent on something other than him.

Two things helped: One, an Ergo baby carrier. I was able to put him on my back like a backpack when he was being a clingy little monkey boy. :) He was happy because he had me, and I was happy because he was out of my way and away from the stove. Two, I put together a drawer of food-related toys right at his level in the kitchen. That was only HIS drawer, and I would only open it when I was needing him to be distracted. Otherwise it stayed locked. Then the toys stayed "fresh" for him instead of being boring after a few weeks.

Good luck! Sounds like you have a very loving little boy. Enjoy it while it lasts! :)

1 mom found this helpful

I seem to remember my little boy doing the same thing. Daddy did keep taking him back into the living room to play. sometimes I set him on the counter with some toys (a counter not close to the stove) if none of these works, a friend has told me to put them in a back pack. then they are up and seeing what is going on and your hands are still free! it may also be a good oppurtunity to try to teach him to say "up". I can't remember how old my son was when I wouldn't pick him up till he at least tried to say up. good luck..soon he will be 3 and wanting to stand on a chair and cook with you! =-)

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds as if he' might just be really, REALLY interested in the cooking process! That's a GOOD thing, but you do need to keep him safe (like in the high chair where he can still see).

1 mom found this helpful

My son did the same thing. So I started putting him in his high chair and keeping him close enough so he could see what was going on. He is 19 months now and hasn't needed this for about the last 2 - 3 months...as is everything else...it's just a phase!

1 mom found this helpful

I also have a needy 15-mo-old child that loves to cling to my legs while I am making dinner. If your husband is home and available, I would suggest having him take him for a walk around the block, or play with him in a different room. I find that if she can't see me, she is not needing to cling to me. If he is not available, I have also put her up in her highchair with a healthy "appetizer/snack" so she can see what is going on, but not be able to reach me or the hot stove. Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My now-2-yr-old daughter used to do the same thing and it drove me asbolutely crazy! Here's what I did:

1. Pre-made dinners while she was napping or under someone else's care to reduce my time in the kitchen
2. Ate more prepared food for a while
3. When she was a little bit older, about 15 or 16 months, I put a steady stool by the counter so she could "help" or at least watch me and be involved. It helped a lot.

They do grow out of it, it's just a few months - hang in there!

1 mom found this helpful

We went through the same thing with my son and some nights it was just best if I waited until my husband was home to make dinner. If your son is walking and can stand well, you might consider pulling up a chair and letting him watch you while you cook (away from the hot stove, etc.). I usually give my son a bowl and spoon to play with and he's happy enough. (Sometimes he still wants uppy while I'm cooking and he's 19 months). If you're not comfortable with the chair idea, there's something called a Kitchen Helper, I think, that you can buy, but it's expensive. Anyway, it's like a little platform with sides that kids stand on to help. That has really saved a friend of mine's day with her daughter. She bought one for $80 on Craig's List, but I think they're over $200 new....
Just keep telling him things are hot and eventually he'll get it. We only have to say "hot" now and my son backs away quickly. Hope that helps.

doesn't sound like excessive neediness at all, it is perfectly natural and normal that he wants to be with you and participate and learn! i didn't read all the responses so forgive me if i repeat... you could use just the back burners so he can't reach them and get hurt. give him a stool or chair, food to play with etc so he can be there with you. let your husband help out too, either by making dinner himself, or all 3 of you together, or he could do something else special with your son while you cook part of the time. it's true it can take longer to have his "help," but you'll be doing him a big big favor by including him!

I wore my children when they were that needy. Someone gave me a sling, which is GREAT for this. However, if you're cooking, you may just have to wear your child on your back. I've worn mine cooking, vacuuming and doing other chores.

Hey...my son has the same issue!! He is 11 months old and does the exact same things I love him with all my heart but the kitchen is a huge "hot spot". I was thinking of trying a back pack to put him in while I cook....maybe that will work. I have one of those huge hiking style ones but on ebay they sell ones called mei tai that can be worn on the front side or back. I was going to try that. Just a suggestion....I'm at my wits end too! Good luck sister!

My second son was a little like that. He is very stubborn and good at getting my sympathy and attention. He loves to be held. I held him while cooking in a front pack for as long as I was able, then had to put up the baby gate. It helps he has his older brother with him. He is now 2 years old, and I have learned that no matter what he gets upset about, you can set the expectation for him, and he will figure out how it is going to be. In other words, if you are afraid that what he wants (to be held while cooking, etc.) is dangerous for him, set up the baby gate. Make distractions for him, have your husband play with him, and give him lots of love so he knows you are not against him. But keep the rule the same. Let him know why, but don't give in. If he knows he is loved, and will get lots of holding time before and after dinner making, he will eventually settle in to the new rule without needing therapy. :) You are the parent. Don't feel guilty because your child doesn't understand what you are doing. It will be O.K. I hope this helps.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.