While some children have no trouble making friends or speaking up in class, your child may be more reluctant to engage in social activities. Usually, there is nothing wrong with this; it is simply your child’s personality. However, there are several strategies you can adopt to help your child develop social skills, including:
Role-play. If you notice that your child has trouble speaking to new people or classmates, provide opportunities for him or her to practice. At home, you can play the role of one of your child’s friends and have sample conversations, which will help him or her learn to be more comfortable with these situations in real life.
Empathize. Your child may feel like there is something wrong with him or her, especially if your family is generally outgoing. Reassure your child that everyone feels shy or has difficulty speaking to others, and it is nothing to be ashamed of.
Model socialization. Your preschooler looks to you for examples of acceptable behavior, so make sure you’re showing your child that speaking to people you don’t know very well is nothing to be scared of. At school events or playdates, strike up a conversation with another parent. Your child will notice and feel more confident because of your example.
Be patient. Your child’s shyness may frustrate you, especially if he or she refuses to speak to family or friends. Don’t get angry or frustrated; your child isn’t acting this way to be difficult or cause trouble. He or she feels overwhelmed and needs your help to understand that speaking to others isn’t as scary as he or she thinks.
Don’t label her as “shy.” Unfortunately, the term “shy” has developed negative associations of social ineptitude. If you apologize to others for your child’s shyness, he or she may come to see this aspect of his or her personality as a negative thing, leading to decreased self-confidence.
At Starwood Montessori, we pride ourselves on helping students of all temperaments grow, both socially and intellectually. To learn more about our preschool program, call our Frisco campus at (972) 712-8080.