Fill the “Attention Basket”


It’s 9 o’clock at night, you’ve just gotten off a frustrating 11 hr shift. The dog is wining to go out, dinner needs to be put away, the laundry in on the floor, there are overdue bills on the table that need to be paid, you’re exhausted beyond belief, and your toddler defiantly climbs onto the table and throws your coffee mug across the kitchen.

It’s 7 AM. Your child has been nursing on and off since 5 AM. You can barely see through your tired puffy eyes. You really need to shower and get ready for the day, but she screams when you try to out him down and refuses solid food or a bottle. You just want your boobs back for 5 whole minutes.

Sound familiar?

I have been getting so frustrated with my son lately. Why does he do these things? I am exhausted enough doing the necessities for my family and working, I don’t have energy for these fits.

I recently read something that completely changed my approach to these moments. It was talking about filling the “attention basket”. Children often do things to gain attention, good or bad. Attention is what they seek. We have a choice. We can fill the attention basket with good attention before it becomes a problem, we can fill it with bad attention when they act out, and/or we can stop and fill the attention basket with good attention when they begin to act out. Stopping and accessing the situation, instead of reacting, will help future tantrums disappear (from both mommy and children).

When he is climbing on the table for the coffee cup, calming pick him up, explain that we don’t climb on tables, and go into the living room to build something together. When she wants to nurse all morning long, take some time to snuggle and read books before you get too busy with the day.


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