There are few things more frustrating than not being able to get things done because of your kid, but some are blessings in disguise, like when your baby is afraid of the vacuum cleaner. OK, it's not so much a blessing because your little one is seriously terrified, but isn't it nice to have an excuse not to clean?
If your baby is afraid of the vacuum cleaner, don't fret too much. It's totally normal. Dr. Ari Brown told Parents that because babies have such an immature nervous system, they "can't handle certain sensory input" such as loud noises. If you thought it was simply the fear of a robot-like thing eating up all of your toddler's goldfish crumbs, not so much. Have you ever noticed that your child is still screaming and crying even if the vacuum cleaner is nowhere near them? The loud noise is to blame in those situations.
However, once your child hits about five months, the fear can change. According to What to Expect, they begin to understand the concept of object permanence, which means they realize that things exist even if they're out of sight. So while you may be able to get away with vacuuming in the other room because they can't see that demon machine, your little one may now understand that the vacuum cleaner still exists and could come back at any moment.
It's just a phase your little one will grow out of, but it can definitely be hard to manage. If you really need to get some cleaning done, here are five ways to help ease your child's fear of the vacuum.
1. Hold Them While You Vacuum
This is the only thing that worked with my daughter and I'm convinced it's the reason she got over her own fear of the vacuum. Instead of trying to vacuum around her crying self, I hoisted her up on my hip and vacuumed while holding her. I think the comfort of me gave her the courage to be close to the vacuum, and she also realized that I was in control of it, so it couldn't hurt her.
2. Let Them Help
According to Parents, babies want control of their surroundings, so when they don't feel in control, they are frightened. Let your little one take the lead by having them help you vacuum. They can turn it on, turn it off, help you wrap up the cord, and even push it along as a way to have their own control over the situation.
3. Talk To Them
I know tiny babies won't understand when you try to explain the vacuum, but you can still talk to them in reassuring tones. Remind them, especially toddlers, that it's just a vacuum and it's only there to make the house clean. If you're apologizing for the vacuum, your children may think that something is wrong and you're confirming their fears.
4. Don't Give In To Their Fear
OK, I know I said their fear was a good excuse not to clean, but it doesn't mean you should ignore the vacuum cleaner for years. Yes, your kid is scared of it, but by hiding it in the closet or trying to ignore the vacuum so your kid is happy, you're just giving in to their fear. They're never going to learn that it's not scary if they never see it in action.
5. Sit On The Floor While Your Partner Vacuums
Try sitting down on the floor with your baby while your partner vacuums around you two. It can get your little one used to the noise and, if they're older, any fears about the vacuum cleaner "getting them" can be taken care of.