Around the time my first boy turned 2, he became ultra-sensitive in social situations. Kids would come up to him right in his face, and his response would be to literally turn around and run in the other direction. He would occasionally cower under my legs, too.
He has mostly grown out of it now that he’s almost 4. He’ll talk to grown-ups and other kids much more readily, but I often wondered how I should deal with these types of behaviors.
What I learned is that shy kids are usually just more cautious and observant than other kids. Perhaps they notice more and don’t want to barrel through moments in the ways other kids do. It might be seen as a kind of filter.
I found a bunch of interesting articles on understanding, helping and dealing with a shy toddler. Here are some tips that I learned.