Every child has his/her own trait and behavior. From an eager beaver to a quiet mouse but being quiet is not a big problem that needs fixing. However, if the quietness takes the child into isolation then surely, early resolution is a must. Perhaps, a shy child is not unfit for the social structure but needs to be helped to be more sociable. However, shyness is not permanent. A shy child can learn to be more confident and comfortable interacting with other people provided it is noticed early and worked upon. It is often observed that a shy child ‘warms up’ as he gets to know a person or situation. This implies that it’s more helpful to describe such child as ‘slow to warm up’ rather than ‘shy’. At such times, labelling a child as ‘shy’ can make him/her feel there’s something wrong with him, or there’s nothing he/she can do about his shyness. It isn’t necessary that babies and young children with ‘slow to warm up’ temperaments end up being shy adults.
It is extremely important to support the child overcome his shyness. It’s quite normal for a parent to wish for their child to be confident and comfortable in social situations, but this never comes naturally to all children. It indicates that such children who are slow to warm up need to practice social skills in small and manageable manner. I strongly believe that parents can help their child practice social interactions by giving him opportunities to be with many people around him and encouraging him by praising him for the tiniest little act he performs. So here are 11 Easy tips make child sociable:
# Never haste to put your child straight into the arms of a less familiar adult. Make sure to give enough time to him so that he is comfortable. You may, in fact, encourage the adult to play with a toy near your child and use a calm voice to attract his attention and make him feel at ease to be able to initiate a step to interact.
# Try and stay close to your child in the different social situations, such as playgroup or parents group, and keep encouraging him to explore. As the child gets more comfortable, a parent can gradually move away for shorter periods. Just come back before the child gets upset so that his experiences of venturing out are positive.
# Make sure not to over-comfort the child. Since over-comforting might send the message that you think that the situation the child is in, seems scary to you. This might accidentally aggravate your child’s shy behaviour.
# Whenever the child shows up a transformed behaviour, remember to praise his ‘brave’ behaviour like responding to others, using eye contact, or playing away from you. It is very important to be specific about what your child has done. This will have a greater impact on the child.
# The child always seeks approval from the parent that his act was appreciable. So, let your child know you’re confident about his ability to handle social situations even if you’re feeling a bit worried he’ll get upset.
# Ever if other people say your child is ‘shy’, gently correct them in front of your child by saying, ‘He’s not shy – he just takes a little while to get comfortable and then he’ll join in’. This may help the child to gain your confidence and he might be able to cope with the new surroundings and adjust better.
# A very important step would be to encourage playdates, either at your house or a friend’s house. If the child is invited to a friend’s house, he might feel more comfortable if you go with him at first. And, with time you could gradually reduce the time you spend with him at other people’s houses.
# Show-and-tell sessions or small class presentations with the child at home can also be one of the best means to let the child gain freedom to speak. Such practices may give the child a platform where from he will be able to stand up in front of his class and speak overcoming his shyness.
# It will always be a great help to allow and encourage the child to do some extracurricular activities. Try to work out good activities that will enhance social behaviour – for example, Scouts, Girl Guides or sport.
# During social interactions, don’t forget to coach the child. Keep reminding the child to do make eye contacts, face people with his/her whole body, and answer questions in a voice that people can hear.
# Avoid negative comparisons with more confident siblings or friends. Instead, help your child’s self-esteem to grow by focusing on even small steps towards being less shy.
Generally, shy children don’t want to be noticed. And, they take to silence in gatherings to avoid public notice. So, it is rather important to tell him/her that people are more likely to notice him if he says nothing than if he responds when people talk to him.
Recognize the problem of shyness
There’s a wide range of normal shy behaviour. For instance, if a child is in a social gathering, it’s normal for a baby to cling to his parents, cry in a social situation, and physically try to avoid social interaction by hiding his head, moving or turning away, or shutting his eyes. There are also occasions when the child refuses to talk to unfamiliar people or even avoid joining in games.
And it’s also quite natural for a school going child to sometimes avoid answering questions in class, have trouble making friends, prefer to sit back and watch others play, or avoid new activities.
But shyness of the child could become a problem when his/her shy behaviour starts causing distress and discomfort to the child and the parent both.
If the child is not be able to say ‘hello’ when someone greets him/her or look at someone when they’re talking, the child starts avoiding going to gatherings because of his shyness. And, that is surely a point of consideration.
It has been observed that those who are shy might also show signs of anxiety in social situations, such as parties, playdates, school and sporting activities. They can also be found talking about feeling lonely, and show signs that they want more friends but don’t know how to overcome their shyness.
If the child’s shy behaviour is interfering with his/her performance at school, or impacting on his/her friendships, this is a sign that it’s becoming a problem. If the level of anxiety increases, and the child fails to understand how to get over his/her shyness, it is important to consult a psychologist.
So these were 11 easy tips make child sociable.
Happy Parenting with Budding Star