Having a shy child can be really hard for both he parent and the child. As a parent you want your child to fit in, make friends and be happy, confident and sociable. Shy children can absolutely hate the thought of having to play with other children and the thought of events such as birthday parties and organised activities can send them in a spin. Whilst we know everyone is different and not everyone needs hundreds of friends, being shy to the point of social isolation is difficult for the child and the parent. Here are 17 bright ideas we have compiled for helping a shy child make friends.
Be a Role Model – Teach your child how to make friends by leading by example. Let them see you interacting with your friends. Treating them with respect, caring for them and having fun with them. Give them a positive impression of having friends.
Organise Playdates with Like Minded Children – If your child is a little shy then organize some playdates with some other quiet or shy kids in the area. Playdates with the Alpha child in the class may just make them retreat more.
Seek Help –Speak to teachers, counselors and other Mums and Dads bout the issue. The teachers may be able to pinpoint is there is a particular issue concerning your child, and can assist in trying to give your child more confidence in social situations.
Get Involved in Team Sports – teams sports are a great way for kids to feel included and meet friends. Fid a sport your child wants to try and is interested in and they may meet some like-minded friends.
Look for Great Resources – Apart from this list obviously! Great websites to try include Dr Sears (http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/child-rearing-and-development/8-ways-help-shy-child) or Parenting.com. or Babaycentre.com. Books include – The Shy Child: Helping Children Triumph over …(Paperback) by Ward K. Swallow, or Nurturing the Shy Child (Paperback) By (author) Barbara G. Markway, By (author) Gregory P. Markway
Teach the Art of Conversation– Teach your child how to talk to another child. For younger children teach them how to discuss what their favourite things are and what they like to play with. For older children teach them to talk about what music and sports they like, what’s happening in pop culture etc.
Help your Kids Fit In – Dress your child like the other kids so they feel like they fit in. Look at what the other kids are playing with balls, swap cards, music, etc. and help your child to participate.
Let them Speak for Themselves – Its so tempting to answer for them when they are asked a question and don’t answer it. Don’t speak for them even if it’s an awkward silence. Teach them that it is not polite not to answer when someone speaks to them.
Teach Children Negotiation Skills – Shy kids can become subservient to more confident, bossy children. Teach your child that it is ok to let others know what they want to play with and to negotiate to have their way sometimes.
Help Children Deal with their Emotions – Shy children are usually sensitive, intuitive children who may struggle to deal with all their emotions. Teach them self-soothing skills such as if they get nervous to cuddle a favourite toy or take 3 breaths.
Persist with Activities – you have decided to enroll your shy child in ballet but they spent all lesson attached to you? Persist, persist. Encourage them each lesson to participate and let them see how other children are joining in and having fun.
Expose your Child to lots of Different Experiences – they may find their niche. Have you ever met those kids who are really quiet then you mention Dinosaurs and then you can’t stop them talking. Explore as many opportunities as possible to let your child find their passion.
Affection and Caring – Teach your child what is means to be a goof friend. Help them to show empathy and caring for others.
Push Them Out of Their Conform Zone – Shy kids may need a bit of a push to try and get them to be more social. In the long run it will be much easier for your child if they can cope in social situations and be assertive. How much to push depends on the child. Ask the professional for help.
Seek out Other Kids Having Trouble Making Friends – You will probably find that yours is not the only shy child around. According to the stats approximately 40% of children have issues with shyness. Seek out other children and Mums in your area and get the kids together.
Spend Time With People – One thing is for sure. They wont make friends sitting at home in front of the telly. Get out and about – parks, library, the neighbours, etc.
Build their Self Esteem –Help improve your child’s self esteem and confidence through praise, giving them responsibilities and letting them make some of their own decisions. Here is a great article from todays parent on building self esteem http://www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/how-to-build-your-childs-self-esteem/