Is my toddler too friendly to strangers?

My little girl recently had her second birthday.  She is a happy, outgoing child who likes to interact with others.  The more she is learning to communicate, it appears the more she wants to chat to people.  Her wanting attention actually started quite young (before she could talk) and she would wave at people with a big smile as we walked by (she was usually in her stroller) and get grumpy when she was ignored.  Sometimes she would wave or make noises continually until she got somebody’s attention.

She is friendly with other children, which I don’t mind at all, it’s the adults that worry me.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m always right there with her and she seems to target friendly women, as I guess they notice her and take the time with her, but it worries me nevertheless.  As it’s not just the chat or games she plays, she also goes in for a cuddle.  The women all seem to love the attention she pays to them (as most have teenagers  or grown children and miss the cuteness of that age).

Just last week as I was picking up my Mum from the airport, we were sitting side by side when a lovely lady sat down next to us.  She had a little chat with Elise and held out her arms, and Elise basically jumped straight up for a cuddle and a song.  The lady chatted to me as she played with my laughing daughter and explained she had 2 teenage daughters herself (and to make the most of Elise now).  I immensely enjoyed watching how much joy Elise seemed to bring this lady.

Sometimes I feel it’s a fine line I’m walking as I’m judging people’s reactions also, as not all people want a little kid jostling to get their attention or annoying them.  When I think she’s in this category I apologise and then try to distract her or move her away from the person.   I don’t consider her a nuisance but I have friends who don’t particularly like or know what to do with small children (my husband being in this category though he’s improved after having our own).

I listen to the news on the radio and it seems like every other week a child goes missing or someone is caught trying to abduct a child.  I can see how easily it could happen, especially if we have another child.  Elise can sometimes be so fast, or I could become distracted by the dog or chatting to someone.  Elise also thinks it’s a game to run away (she loves to be chased and will shout ‘you can’t catch me’).

Does anyone else have a child like this?   Do you have any tips on stopping the chase games or the hugging of strangers?  I don’t want to try to stop her from chatting with people, I just wish to try to tone it down a little bit.

I have no doubt she will grow out of this, and of course I will miss my friendly little girl so until then I guess I’ll continue to watch her closely and let her have some free rein to meet new people and bring smiles to people’s faces but I’ll direct her the best I can and we’ll work on stranger danger as she continues to blossom.

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