My 18month oldis very shy and hides behind my leg all the time – how can I help him feel more confident?
Melanie Willsher, Dorset
It’s very typical for toddlers to be cautious in new situations or around unfamiliar people. It could be your son’s temperament, or he could be going through a stage of separation anxiety, which comes and goes over the first three years and tends to peak at around 10 to 18 months. Group activities such as birthday parties or playdates are a good way for him to become more comfortable with social situations. Stay with him while he warms up to the environment. Avoid calling him ‘shy’ or being critical of his shyness, and offer understanding along with encouragement, for example, saying: ‘There are lots of people here, it is quite noisy.’