There are some babies who come out of the womb “politic’in” and ready to run for office, while other children are naturally more reserved. Being timid could be in your child’s DNA and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, it could cause your child to miss out on a lot of fun and new experiences.
Sometimes we’re part of the problem. We insist our kids not speak to strangers, yet we expect them to speak to our friends whom they may not know. Even a very confident child can become anxious in a new social situation. The unexpected is often the trigger for the feeling of insecurity that presents itself as shyness. The shy child can often be clingy, anxious, and nervous.
We’ve all heard the famous quote, “Life is but a stage.” It’s no less true for our children. Actors in a performance know that practice make perfect. So how can we help our children practice social situations before taking the stage?
Practice Makes Perfect
- Take it slow, one step at a time.
- Present situations in which your child can practice social skills. For example, play in an imaginary cafe where you are the waiter and your child is the customer. Also, have your child answer the phone for you or hand the gift to the birthday girl.
- Find something your child excels in and encourage him to share her skill with another child.
- Before introducing your child to a new person, talk to that person for a few minutes. This observation without pressure will help your child understand the situation and what is expected of him.
- Always talk to your child about a new situation or event. We all do better when we discuss clear expectations.
- Never make their reluctance an issue. Simply try again. Consistency is the key.
How have you helped your child come out of their shell?