Babies don't have to pay bills or take heat from a difficult boss, but they still get anxious. And a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shows that some babies are born more sensitive to stress than others, says Cathi Propper, Ph.D., the study coauthor. All babies, however, like to be soothed with lots of reassurance. How to handle three common situations:
Big stressor #1: Mom leaving the room. "I rarely see a child who doesn't get stressed by this," says Propper. If you're trying out a new sitter, have her come early so your little one can see that you like this new person. Sneaking out will only trigger anxiety. Instead, give a quick hug and a kiss, and make your exit.
Big stressor #2: Dora in person. Characters who are beloved in a book can still be scary at a birthday party. If your tot's not enjoying the entertainment, check out some toys in another room.
Big stressor #3: Mom and Dad arguing. Studies show that exposing kids to parents' fighting is better than never allowing them to watch you disagree, but they should see you (kiss and) make up, too.