He’s really shy- 5 ways to solve the problem
Come on Becky, say hello to uncle Jim’, says mom of a 5-year-old Rebecca, who is hiding behind her legs, trying to avoid uncle Jim who is grinning and trying to shake hands with her. How many times have we witnessed similar situations, when young kids are brought to social gatherings and are labeled ‘shy’ because they take time opening up to people they seldom see.
In this social world, where it is so important to raise kids who enjoy social gatherings or become active members of a community; it is also important to keep in mind the individuality of their nature and personality and to work our ways around it. If you find your kid hiding behind you at gatherings, or sulking at birthday parties, this post is for you! Read on and help your kid gain self-confidence while letting him learn and enjoy socializing at his own pace.
-Remove the label “He is shy”
Many parents, in defense of their children’s behavior casually say, ‘He is very shy’.This does not help in the long run, and instead, act as a reinforcement to the child’s behavior. The best way to encounter such situations would be the replacement of words. For example, in a social setting, when people reach out to greet your son who does not reciprocate and instead hides behind you, it is best to say, “He will play when he is ready”, instead of saying, “yes, he is very shy”.
– Don’t push them to be friends with everyone
Sometimes parents get too excited and wish to see their kids mingling well and becoming ‘life of the party’. To achieve this, they push their kids way too much into the crowds, introducing him to every kid, instead of letting him discover and make friends on his own. Just like in adult life where the principle of ‘quality over quantity’ applies, the same ruling can be easily worked within the children’s world. So if you find your little one happy with one buddy, let him be and be proud of his ability to make and maintain one good friend.
-Do comment on their strengths
Many times, children hesitate to initiate conversations or play, as they feel scared of doing something wrong. It is important to cultivate an atmosphere of positivity in the home so that they feel encouraged in making moves. One practical tip to boost their self-esteem is; commenting on their strengths and helping build them further.
-Roleplay with them at home
If you have noticed your kid has difficulty making his way into a group of kids to start talking or playing, you could help him at home by ‘role-playing’. You could ask him to practice approaching and starting with a hello. This way he will feel more comfortable when he is in an actual social meeting.
-Let them learn from you
As they say, ‘practice makes a man perfect’. Although the goal here is not perfection, but promoting healthy social development in children. The key point here is; the more you take them out to socialize, the more they will observe you interacting with people, and therefore the more they will learn the norms of mingling. An important thing to note here is, to make sure you are not pushing your kid too far, and find out a way to figure out how much is too much for your kid, and try not to surpass that.
-’Stanley Shapiro, Karen Skinulis’,(2002), “Parent Talk”
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