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I am uncle of a 7 month old girl. She seems really happy when my mother / her grandma interacts with her. But when I interact with her (try to play with her or put her on my arm), she often becomes visibly nervous, starts looking around for her parents and when she can't find them she starts to cry.

I would really like to help my brother and his girlfriend by babysitting for them occasionally, but I don't feel comfortable with proposing this unless my niece appears comfortable with being alone with me. I also look forward to being a good uncle for her in her future childhood, so I would like to build a good relationship with her as early as possible.

What can I do to get her to trust me?

One factor could be that she gets far more exposure to my mother (1-2 times a week) than me (maybe every 2 weeks tops).

  • Our 7 months old daughter started showing unease when get close to elder male family members, like my father and uncle. She needs more time spent together to engage closely with them. But she is more comfortable with female elders that they can hold her easier after she gets an eye contact of trust with us. Considering mammals in general it feels like around 7 months they start developing a safety measure against elder males that they don't know well. Try spending more time with her when she feels safe near his parents. It will develop in time. – Guney Ozsan Oct 14 '18 at 11:06
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Some kids are outgoing. Others, not so much. Some get scared by facial hair. Some get scared when it goes away. I can't say for sure why your niece is nervous around you, but I can take a guess.

Most likely, she just isn't familiar with you. She sees grandma pretty often and isn't scared of her. She's seen grandma be nice and loving. I'd also wager that mom and dad were close by when she met grandma. She probably gets nervous because you are new, she doesn't know what to do and mom and dad aren't around to let her know things are ok.

First, I would try to spend more time with her and your brother and his girlfriend. If she knows mom and dad are there, she should feel more safe and can get to know you a bit better without being scared. Play with her with her parents. Do things with her and her parents together until she gets used to the idea of you being around. Then try doing things with less parent interaction. Play all together then have mom or dad or both stop playing. They could be in the same room or leave entirely. Eventually she will warm up to you.

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