How can we effectively support children who consistently seek validation and attention?

This is a characteristic being seen more since all the lockdowns of COVID and so it may not be a true characteristic of the child but a behaviour that has been encouraged by being isolated with a caring or bored adult.  For this child, there could be several approaches.

  1. Engage the child in working with you, gradually encouraging the child to take over more and more of the work – until the adult is simply sitting beside the working child.  If this is a necessity for more than one child (and post-covid it very well could be), create a space with 2 or 3 tables together with a place for one adult to sit within proximity of each child, offering psychological support but not becoming a praising adult.  
  2. Another approach would be to ask a child who knows very well how to work with a piece of material if he/she would be willing to become the “teacher” to other children.  For the child to become the “button frame” teacher, you, the adult, must first receive a lesson on that material from the child.  This child then becomes the classroom teacher for that material.  This process can satisfy, for some children, the need for validation.  This can often lead the child to want to become the teacher for another material and so the process continues until the child no longer needs the validation.
Child and teacher working with sandpaper letters