Awareness of Others

Once your child would play in front of an audience of grandparents or other adults without concern. Now her rapidly developing sense of self makes her newly aware that others are watching.


You may have already seen signs of embarrassment when attention is drawn to your toddler. These signal an important new cognitive ability to understand that he’s an individual, to consider how others may view him and to realize that his feelings may differ from those other people. That understanding opens a wide door of social development, interaction and empathy.

Avoid Over-Labeling

If your child is sensitive to being watched by others, you can help him by giving his feeling a name—“Are you feeling shy?”—and letting him know that you accept his feeling.

Be careful not to pigeon-hole your child by consistently labeling her as shy—or with any other label, as she may begin to characterize herself that way instead of outgrowing the behavior.

Observing and accepting your child’s emerging emotions will guide you in the best ways to respond and support her in new situations and challenges.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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