15 Ways To Engage A High Needs Baby Or Toddler

Staci S. Wright

Though it comes with moments of joy, being a stay at home mom can be a 24/7 relentless job. I know how hard it can be to get anything done when your baby toddler is constantly clinging to you. It seems like they never want to be put down! If this sounds like your child, then you are not alone. Many parents have high needs babies and toddlers.

Thankfully, there are ways to distract them so that you can take a break. In this blog post, we will discuss 15 of the best ways to engage a high needs baby or toddler!

15 Tips For Taking Care Of A Clingy Baby or Toddler

1. Give them plenty of attention and love

One of the best ways to distract a high needs baby or toddler is to simply give them lots of love and attention. This can be in the form of cuddling, talking, playing with their favorite toys, or reading books together.

2. Offer them new experiences

Another effective distraction technique for high needs babies and toddlers is to offer them new experiences that they may not have encountered before. This could include taking them outside for some fresh air, playing with different types of sensory toys, or trying out new foods or textures.

3. Provide plenty of physical activity

High needs babies and toddlers need plenty of physical stimulation in order to stay focused and happy. So if your little one is having a hard time sitting still, consider going for a walk, playing outside in the yard, or doing some active playtime like dancing or jumping on the trampoline. Take them for a walk or to the park to burn some energy. High needs babies and toddlers often have a lot of energy, so it’s important to provide them with plenty of opportunities to burn it off. Playing tag or other active games is a great way to do that. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!

4. Try out different soothing techniques

Sometimes distraction isn’t enough to soothe a fussy, high needs baby or toddler. If you find yourself in this situation, consider trying out different soothing techniques like singing, rocking them gently back and forth, or playing some soft music.

mom baby dad walking

5. Make crafts together

Kids love novelty, so why not try making some fun and easy crafts with your toddler? This can be a great way to keep them entertained and engaged. Some of my favorite crafts to do with toddlers include painting, cutting out shapes from construction paper, and creating collages with magazines and photos.

6. Take them on outings

One of the best ways to distract a high needs baby or toddler is to take them on an outing to a place they haven’t been before. This could be a park, the zoo, a museum, or even just a different part of town. Outings are always a fun adventure for kids. You can also create an outing in your own backyard with a bit of creativity, like an outdoor tent or teepee for kids.

7. Bake treats together

Another great way to distract a high needs baby or toddler is to bake treats together! This can be a fun and bonding experience for both of you, and it will keep them entertained and engaged. Plus, who doesn’t love delicious baked goods? Some of my favorite recipes to make with toddlers include muffins (you can make healthy ones!)cookies, and brownies.

8. Use distraction techniques that involve touch

For babies and toddlers who are especially clingy, using distraction techniques that involve touch can be very effective at getting them to disengage. This could include holding your child close while talking soothingly to them, gently rocking them back and forth, or gently brushing their hair or skin with your hands.

9. Engage their senses

Many high needs babies and toddlers have highly developed senses, so if yours is one of those kids, consider engaging their sense of sight, smell, taste, hearing, or touch in order get their attention away from you. This could include showing them a book with colorful pictures, playing soothing music in the background, giving them a new toy to play with, or giving them something yummy to taste.

mother kids baking

10. Encourage independent playtime

One of the best ways to give yourself some much-needed distraction time is by encouraging independent playtime for your high needs baby or toddler. You can do this by setting up a safe space in your home where your child can play on their own and explore their surroundings without any help from you. Slowly increase the time you leave your baby alone. This will allow you both some much-deserved time apart!

11. Try sensory activities

Sensory activities are another great way to distract a high needs baby or toddler. These activities can include playing with water, feeling different textures, using finger paint or blowing bubbles. Consider letting them explore their environment and get a little messy! This can help occupy their mind and give them the sensory stimulation that they crave. Some fun ideas to try out include playing in a sandbox or as long as you don’t mind, playing in mud!

12. Give them a distraction tool of their own

If you have a particularly clingy child who needs lots of distraction time, consider giving them their own distraction tool that they can use when they need some space from you. This could be something as simple as a small stuffed animal that your child can hug for comfort whenever needed, or a special toy or book that gets them excited and focused on something other than you.

13. Seek out support from other parents

As any parent of an especially high needs baby or toddler knows all too well, it can often feel like you are in this parenting struggle alone! But one of the most helpful distraction tips for high needs babies and toddlers is to reach out to other parents who have gone through a similar experience. Whether it’s online in parenting forums, or by connecting with family members or friends, talking with other parents who understand exactly what you’re going through can be an invaluable source of support when you need some distraction time.

kid playing on sand

14. Sing songs and play games

Finally, if all else fails and you are still struggling to distract your high needs baby or toddler, consider singing songs and playing games. These simple distraction techniques can often be very effective at getting your child’s attention away from whatever they’re fixated on – as long as you stay consistent and keep trying new things! Remember, distraction is a process that takes time, so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work right away. Just keep being patient and loving, and eventually you’ll find the perfect distraction technique for your little one. Good luck!

15. Relax and take a deep breath

At the end of the day, remember that distraction techniques for high needs babies and toddlers are just that – techniques. They are not a magic cure-all for your child’s clinginess and may not work every time. So don’t beat yourself up if one distraction technique doesn’t work right away.


Distraction techniques for high needs babies and toddlers can take many different forms, depending on what works best for your child. The important thing is to be patient and keep trying new things until you find something that works. And don’t forget to take it easy on yourself – it can be hard dealing with a clingy baby or toddler!

taking care clingy baby

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