Does your baby cry when meeting a stranger even if it was a close friend or a relative?
Anxiety around strangers is frequently one of your baby’s first emotional milestones. You may suspect something is awry when your three-month-old child, who interacted pleasantly with strangers at the age of three months, now tenses up when strangers get too close.
This is quite typical at this age, and you should not be concerned. Even familiar relatives and babysitters who used to make your baby feel safe may suddenly make her hide or cry, especially if they approach her quickly.
What can you read in this article?
- What is stranger anxiety
- How to overcome stranger anxiety in babies
- When should you worry about stranger anxiety baby
What is stranger anxiety
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Stranger anxiety refers to the concern that babies feel when they encounter or are left in the care of somebody they don’t know.
Stranger anxiety is a totally normal developmental stage that often occurs between the ages of 6 and 8. It usually peaks between the ages of 12 and 15 months and then progressively fades as your youngster grows and develops.
Stranger anxiety emerges at the same time as a baby’s developing sense of order and organization in the environment. Around the time stranger anxiety starts, the baby discovers that their relationship with the individuals they spend the most time with (usually their parents) is different from their relationship with strangers and other people they don’t know well.
How to overcome stranger anxiety in babies
Most cases of stranger anxiety in children do not necessitate therapy because it is a phase that they pass through.
Friends or relatives who are unfamiliar with your infant can attempt alternative techniques to welcoming them, such as approaching them while speaking quietly, smiling, and holding a toy, to try to reduce stressful outbursts.
However, this doesn’t always work because your kid can respond in unexpected ways even when someone has the greatest of intentions.
How to manage stranger anxiety baby
While the suffering associated with stranger anxiety is typical, there are a number of tactics you can employ to help your infant navigate this difficult stage with care, understanding, and love.
1. Help your baby be comfortable
This can include introducing new people to the baby gradually rather than all at once. If you want to leave your child with a new babysitter, for example, you can have the sitter spend some time with the entire family before leaving the child alone with them. Invite the sitter to come over and play games with you for some friendly interaction. Your infant will learn that this new person is pleasant and trustworthy if you are excited and upbeat.
2. Support your baby with these big emotions
Experts advise not ignoring your child’s pain or pressuring them to curb their outbursts too soon. Pressuring a baby to accompany or be held by a stranger before they’re ready might cause anxiety and make the next time they encounter a stranger even more difficult.
3. Every child is different
Every baby adjusts to new individuals at his or her own rate. When you understand that your child’s apprehension to engage with strangers is normal, you’ll be better able to gather the patience needed to assist them to work through the major emotions that come with stranger fear.
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Photo by Sarah Chai from Pexels
4. Warming up before meeting a stranger
People that your infant used to enjoy seeing, such as grandparents, aunts, and uncles, may now become a cause of stress for your child. Interactions will be more beneficial if you encourage a gradual warm-up time to allow for their comfort.
5. Have your baby get used to meeting new people (with precaution!)
Wear your baby in their carrier facing outward (once it is safe to do so) to help them get accustomed to seeing new and unfamiliar faces and to demonstrate pleasant, comfortable relationships with strangers. As long as you are comfortable, you can allow others to hold, play with, and care for your newborn baby. But don’t forget to be cautious of risks and safety!
When should you be worried about stranger anxiety baby
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In the toddler and infant years, it’s typical for toddlers to be anxious around new people, but should parents be concerned if these tendencies continue into the preschool years? Anxiety is dependent on your child’s personality, the degree of their reaction, and consistency.
For example, during the first few weeks in a new school. It’s usual for preschoolers to experience stranger fear and separation anxiety from you. However, this normally doesn’t last long, usually little more than a week or two.
If, on the other hand, your child’s distress and worry about meeting new people is interfering with their social development, it’s time to talk to your pediatrician about your choices, which may involve a psychiatrist referral.
Stranger anxiety in newborns and young children is completely normal. Even if it’s frustrating, keep in mind that it, like so many other aspects of your child’s development, will pass. Until your child has outgrown it, try to be patient, keep cheerful, and encourage them as much as you can.
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