Here's just a few examples:
- My sister goes to a stroller class to get exercise. Sometimes she has her stroller full of kid's. Every once in awhile Isaak will ride in another mom's stroller. He hasn't wanted anything to do with that the last two times. He scream cries. Then later on at the playground if his cousin isn't right at his side, Isaak freaks out.
- Over the weekend we had family over at our house. When Grandma and Grandpa got in Isaak was fine. As other people started to walk in Isaak scream cried. I really thought something was wrong with him. Isaak sees everyone on a regular basis except for my older sister's family. He hasn't seen them since Christmas.
- In the checkout line at Costco, they pull the cart to the opposite side that you are paying. Isaak had a look of panic on his face. I ran over and grabbed him before he started to cry.
- In public restrooms Isaak gets terrified to go potty when there's an automatic flusher and he hates the hand blow dryers! A great blogger here gave me the idea of putting sticky notes over the sensors of the automatic flusher. I haven't been anywhere to try this yet, but will.
I read about toddler anxiety here and here. These are some of the key fears I learned from the articles:
- Toddlers are old enough to understand that the world is big. Being out of their comfort zone is HUGE to them.
- The family dog barks and the cat scratches.
- Other little kids take toys.
- Parents disappear for what seems like long periods of time to them.
- Loud noises like the vacuum cleaner scare them.
- Older kids fill their world with scary thoughts. Like: There's a monster downstairs; when really it's just the washer, or dryer.
I did experience a little stranger anxiety with my older son Mica. He acted out in a different way. He did what I called, "The Nervous Dance". He'd prance around a room all uncomfortably.
I'm happy to learn that this like a lot of stages, goes away with time. There is something to be said about stranger anxiety that is good; you don't want your kids to feel so comfortable with strangers that they go to just anybody.
I think the best thing to do is hug them and reassure them that everything is ok. Tell them that you are there for them.