Attachment Parenting Tools for Stranger Anxiety
Stranger Anxiety is a normal healthy development in babies. It normally starts around 3-6 months or more and can last anywhere up to 1 – 2 years. My first son started having stranger anxiety about 4-5 months old and he’s only just fully got over it, he’s now just turned 2. Its a development where babies realise that not all people are the same, and that they have a special relationship to certain caregivers.
It can be very unnerving for parents when their friendly, social baby all of a sudden doens’t want to go to strangers and becomes clingy. Its very important as parents we’re patient with them through this emotional development. Try as much as possible to stay with your baby / toddler whenever they need you. They really feel safe around you and often no one else will do.
If you have to work or leave them, and there is no alternative then really all you can do is try to create and maintain a strong connection in the time you have together. Wear your baby in a sling whenever possible, co-sleep with your baby if you can. This is great for working mums as it means you can be close to your baby much more than if they were sleeping in another room. Try and spend as much time in close physical contact to make them feel safe when you’re there.
Also, if you have to leave them, as much as possible try not to feel too guilty or show your upset as this will probably be picked up on by your child, as difficult as that may be!
Its probably best to say goodbye when you leave too. This phase can also be mistaken with separation anxiety when the child cries when you leave. I think if you sneak out and leave them, then they may be more upset thinking you’ve disappeared.
I was lucky as I’ve been able to stay home and look after my boys so although my 1st went through a long period of stranger anxiety I have been there to soothe him.
Let me know how you have handled stranger anxiety or separation anxiety in your children? Did you have to work or did you stay at home with them? Would love to hear your thoughts and learn more about you!