How do you help your baby overcome stranger anxiety?

  • My sister's little boy has tremendous difficulty with his stranger anxiety and he is only 8 months old. He even cries if you look at him and it takes him about 30 minutes to warm up to strangers! How can my sister help her baby overcome his fear of strangers? ~Bonnie, StrongMoms Facilitator

  • I know it is frustrating to have a baby so attached to mom and so afraid of strangers, but from a developmental perspective this is evidence that your nephew is right on track!  Separation anxiety can start as early as 7-8 months, but peaks between 12-18 months.  So, be reassured this is evidence that he is a healthy kiddo.

    That being said what can help?  Several things-exposing your nephew to lots of different and safe people for short periods of positive interaction is one.  The other, and major thing is that he learns that when mom leaves she always returns.  This takes time and it takes repetition.  So passing him to someone else in the room to hold and having him see that this has a positive ending, and that mom always comes bac-that will help him move right through this.

     

    Keep us posted on how thing are going!

    -Jess

  • I have somewhat of the same problem except my stepson is 4 and is socially awkward around people - he won't talk or he'll hide.  He even does this in the morning if I'm the only one awake besides him (although after an hour or so he's okay but then starts following me everywhere and wants me to watch everything he does when he's playing "Nina looka me!  Hey! Look at me!".  He does the same to daddy.  Worst of all he has bad separation anxiety to the point where he follows daddy everywhere (even when he's trying to go to the bathroom) and won't do things on his own.  If he has to go potty daddy has to come with and stand there while he goes.  He won't even get his own toys from upstairs without dad and wants dad to do everything with him or for him.  It drives my man nuts too.

  • Wow, even looking at him triggers crying? Poor baby! I'd just take things very slow and maybe have mom play with him near other people and just go to places with lots of people around to start with. Eventually he will grow more independent...it just takes time.