The Attention Seeking Child

Attention or Detention?

Smiling girl with outstretched arms
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This child constantly does things to get your attention and it can become quite annoying. They will blurt out and tell you what they did or that they're finished their work or that somebody is copying their work, etc. Their desire for attention is almost insatiable. Much of what they do is done to get attention. It doesn't seem to matter that you provide lots of attention as they continually seek more.


The Attention Seeking child is in need of more attention than most. They seem to have something to prove and don't take as much pride intrinsically as they do extrinsically. This child may not have a sense of belonging. Try and understand the need: this child may have a low self-esteem and may need some confidence building. Sometimes the attention seeker is simply just immature. If this is the case, adhere to the interventions below and the child will outgrow the insatiable need for attention.


  • Sit down with this child and explain to them that you have a number of children to work with each day. Provide them with a time that is just for them. Even a two minute period before or after recess that is their time. Stick to it! Each time they look for the attention, remind them of their specific time. In time if you're consistent, you will see that this strategy can work quite well.
  • Promote intrinsic motivation. Ask the child what they like about what they did.
  • Always commend the child on his/her improvement.
  • During the child's special time, take time to boost their confidence.
  • Provide the child with responsibilities and a leadership role from time to time.
  • Never forget that ALL children need to know you care about them and that they can contribute in a positive way. It took the child a long time to become an extreme seeker of attention, be consistent, patient, and understand that change will take time.

The Top Four

  1. Students often don't know what appropriate behavior is - they need to be taught! Teach the appropriate interactions, responses, anger management - social skills. Use role play and drama.
  2. Expect/demand appropriate responses by ensuring the bully apologizes directly to the victim.
  3. Have a zero tolerance classroom policy in place that is well understood.
  4. As much as possible, recognize and reward positive behavior.