You’ve probably noticed that between 6 and 18 months, your baby’s growing cognition and awareness may also trigger sudden fears and insecurities. They may start to cry at loud sounds like the vacuum cleaner or blender or become afraid of taking baths or being around a familiar dog. Your baby may even show fear towards someone they have been comfortable with before.
These fears are common and should not be taken as a sign that your baby’s personality has changed. These fears will subside on their own in a couple of months, so there is no need to teach your baby to overcome them.
5 tips for dealing with new fears
- If you can, avoid the trigger. For example, if your baby is worried about water, try a sponge bath. If they are scared of a neighbour’s dog approaching, move to the other side of the street.
- It can be hard when your baby starts to fear a familiar relative or friend. Be patient and don’t force it if your baby doesn’t want to be affectionate or interact with someone.
- Notice, name, and validate their feelings. For example, you might say, “that was a loud sound. Are you feeling scared? Don’t worry, it was just a car horn honking.” This helps them feel validated for the future and allows them to recognise different sounds.
- If something scares your baby, pick them up out of the stroller or off the floor, and hold them close until they calm down
- Separation anxiety can also show up at this age. Be sure to say a quick goodbye each time you leave, reassure your baby that you will come back, and offer a positive distraction.