Babies are the most innocent creatures and they enjoy the company of anyone who plays with them or entertains them. By the 6th to 9th month, babies start recognizing people around them. And once they learn that, their behavior towards anybody other than their parents can markedly change. Members of family, other than parents, also come under the category of strangers for the baby. This phenomenon is known as “Stranger Anxiety.”
Stranger anxiety is a natural and normal phenomenon in kids. It ensures that your kid has a survival instinct inherent to all human beings.
Kids with stranger anxiety may also show preference for one parent over another. Parents should be careful while dealing with this behavior of the kid. Here are a few tips to show how you should handle this phase of your childʼs growth:
1. Reassure your child: A bubbly child can suddenly become upset, scared, or quiet on arrival of family or friends. Reassure your child that everything is okay and you are there with them. Reassurance boosts their confidence and helps them recognize family or known members.
2. Stay close: When stranger anxiety hits your child, stay close to your baby. This is necessary to make your baby feel that they are “safe” with you and you will not let anyone hurt them. Also, do not force your kid to mingle with guests. Let them take their time to open up.
3. Make your kid comfortable: Do not leave your anxious tot with the guests till the time they are comfortable. You can plan games or fun activities to break the ice. If your child is constantly unhappy or upset to see a particular relative or friend, be watchful of the guest’s behavior.
4. Coach the guest: You may have a distant relative who has especially come down to meet your nipper and may get upset with your baby’s anxious behavior. Explain the relative or friend about this phase and ask them to slowly and gradually mingle with the baby.
5. Do not scold: This phase can be irritating at times, but do not scold your baby; instead assure and reassure your child. By scolding your baby, you may cause an irreversible damage to their behavioral patterns. This will also prevent your child to divulge any mistreatment by a strangers.
Each and every phase of your child is very important for their development, and as a parent you should be careful to nurture all aspects of their development.
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