Table of contents:
Some mothers may feel worried when they see their baby crying and are afraid when being carried or just meeting strangers or even family that they rarely see. Is it normal for babies to be afraid of strangers?
Generally, newborns up to 6 months old have no fear of other people. This is because they have not been able to distinguish or recognize people in particular. However, as he gets older, his little one's emotional abilities will continue to develop and he will begin to distinguish who is mother, father, and the people he often meets.
Fear of Strangers Is Normal
If your little one is currently experiencing it, you don't need to worry. It's normal to be afraid of strangers, isn't it?
The bigger the baby, the smarter the baby will be in distinguishing which people are closest to them and which are not. Of course, your little one will prefer people who are familiar to him, especially Mom and Dad.
So, when he meets, is invited to play, or is carried by someone he considers a stranger, his response can vary, ranging from staying silent, hiding, nervous, anxious, afraid, to crying. That reaction comes when he feels uncomfortable with that person.
Fear of strangers or stranger anxiety generally occurs at the age of 6 months and over and will peak at the age of 12-15 months. However, after that, this phenomenon will decrease gradually and will generally disappear after he turns 2 years old.
How to Overcome a Baby Afraid of Strangers
Helping your little one not to be afraid of strangers is important, you know, Bun. There must be times when your little one has to meet other people, right? For example, when you have to leave it to the baby sitter or family. If your little one continues to be afraid of strangers, maybe the mother herself will be in trouble later.
So that his fear disappears immediately and your little one wants to get to know people he just met, there are some tips you can do, namely:
1. Don't force
When a baby is afraid of a new person he meets, don't force him to be able to meet, play, even be held with that person. Forcing him to immediately accept the presence of strangers, or even to scold him, can actually make his mood worse, you know, Bun.
This of course will make your little one even more afraid. Not only to strangers, but also to Mother. It's better to just let your little one accept and deal with the person's presence according to his readiness.
Mother can explain to family or relatives who are considered strangers by the Little One, that he needs more time to familiarize himself with them.
2. Accept the fear
The fear that babies feel is a response to their emotions. So, you need to accept the fear that he feels. Just imagine if you have to meet, joke, and be with someone you just saw for the first time, of course you don't feel comfortable, right?
Well, this also applies to babies. So, never deny his fear. Let him express his feelings and let him know that actually the person he considers a stranger is a good person who will not hurt him. If you are told like this over and over again, your little one will accept it, really.
3. Calm himself
When your little one starts to fuss and is afraid of new people, immediately calm himself down by hugging, stroking, and kissing him.Tell him that everything will be okay, so that he feels calm and comfortable. Mothers can also divert their fears with toys they like or play their favorite songs.
4. Meet new people as often as possible
So that he is not only close to Mom, Dad, caregivers, or family members at home, every evening take the baby out of the house so he can meet new people.
Mother can use a front sling so she can face other people, but still feel safe because she is close to Mother. However, even without a sling like this, it's okay.
The key is to always accompany your little one when he meets new people. You can also interact with the new person to help your little one get used to it. However, in the midst of a pandemic like this, try to keep practicing physical distancing, okay.
5. Don't give up
The last one, be patient and don't give up, OK? Remember that babies need time to adapt to new people. If you get used to it consistently, over time he can be comfortable with new people, really.
Fear of strangers is normal, it usually goes away on its own after the baby is 2 years old. However, if after applying the tips above, your little one is still scared and can't accept new people, you can consult a psychologist to get the right treatment.
Also, it should be noted that research shows that babies with severe fear of strangers, such as those that make them unable to stop crying, are more likely to develop anxiety when they start school later.
So, you need to anticipate this by giving your little one some time to prepare before he goes to school. Mother can teach her how to meet new friends, what are her assignments in class, or the function of a teacher in class so that she is not confused and anxious when she is in a class full of new people.