Stranger Anxiety-In the Era of Covid with Children
Stranger Anxiety – in the era of Covid
This era of COVID-19 has left many parents in a state of turmoil and unpredictability as their “norm”. Many parents of new little ones have had a particularly difficult transition to parenthood as they may have been isolated during pregnancy or with a newborn. Many parents missed out on the additional support that could have been provided by their own parents or friends. As the COVID-19 vaccine is administered and
As the COVID-19 vaccine is administered and families begin feeling safer to socialize, the impact the pandemic had on us as a society is becoming more and more evident each day. Parents are discovering this twofold as they navigate resuming normal life patterns with their babies. Especially for our babies who were born into this world knowing nothing of a big family party or gathering or any loud and populous event, there are many new and overwhelming situations they may encounter. Many parents worry about the impact the pandemic had on these little ones as they may observe their child cringing at the sight of a new person or becoming easily overstimulated at a party. Please know you are not alone. The addition of the pandemic norms to the expected stranger anxiety could be playing a role. Stranger anxiety commonly develops around six to eight months and can peak around 12-15 months (Pelly, 2019). As a parent, it is difficult, regardless, when a relative reaches for your infant out of love and they pull away or for your baby to cry the entire duration of a family party. The beacon of hope during this time of transition is the flexibility of an infant’s brain as there are ways to teach and reassure them regarding these new situations they are facing.
Here are some suggestions for you as a parent navigating this time.
1) Time – Give your baby time after you arrive at a big event to remain in your arms. This is a whole new setting for them and the safest place they know is your arms.
2) Model – Prior to passing them to a relative or friend, model your own comfort level with this individual by chatting with them while holding your baby so they can see this is a safe person.
3) Guided Interaction – If your baby seems more warmed up to this interaction, slip the relative your baby’s favorite teething ring or rattle so they can play with your baby while your baby remains in your arms.
4) Reassure – If this fails when you attempt to pass your baby to the relative’s arms, gently explain this is not personal and with a few extra interactions such as this one, your baby will get there. It’s easy to feel guilty as a parent with these types of scenarios, but your baby looks to you to guide them throughout easy and difficult transitions as their source of comfort and understanding. Many parents are in your exact situation so give yourself grace as you walk into your next family party and know that your baby will learn about the cuddles just waiting for them in the arms of your loved ones.
Pelly, J. 2019. Stranger Anxiety: What it is and how to help your baby. Healthline. Stranger Anxiety: What It Is and How to Help Your Baby (healthline.com)Back To Blog