Children, just like adults, come in all different shapes, sizes, and temperaments. Five main characteristics make your child who they are. These personality traits are agreeableness, openness, neuroticism, extroversion, and conscientiousness. Every child has different degrees of these traits, but many parents put emphasis on extroversion or lack thereof.
Kids who are not extroverts and naturally outgoing, are introverts and tend to be shy around people, especially someone they don’t know. This causes concern for many parents. Encouraging your child to step out of their comfort zone can be difficult, but not impossible. Children who are quiet and shy tend to be detail-oriented, reflective, and thoughtful in their actions and words. These features are linked to a conscientious individual. So, how can you help your youngster become more comfortable in a public setting?
Watch a tv show or read a book about social skills. According to the PBS website (http://www.pbs.org/parents/expert-tips-advice/2016/07/daniel-tiger-helps-teach-social-skills-preschoolers/), the TV show, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is a great way to help children with their social skills. This program has positive messages and positive role models for kids to follow. Daniel, the main character, relies on his friends and parents to help him with his questions and uncertain situations.
Results from a recent study advised that children who watched Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood can identify feelings better and are empathetic towards other youngsters. It is especially helpful when parents take an active role in helping their young children understand their emotions and how to handle them in a responsible way. These conversations help your children socialize because you’re helping them learn about themselves which makes them feel secure. When we know who we are, we feel empowered and able to deal with different social situations.
Another idea is to join Storytime at your local library or a local playgroup. It’s a good idea to attend regularly so that your child becomes familiar with the other kids, as well as the adults that are there on a regular basis. Your children may be clingy the first few times but encourage them to participate with the other children as much as possible. Another way for shy children to participate is if the leader of the group asks your child to help clean up. This initiates helpfulness and teamwork.
Other things that you may overlook but are vital to your child’s social development are words of praise, setting a good example, and being affectionate with your little one. Young kids love to please others, and when parents praise their kids for being thoughtful, or generous with her toys, it encourages your kid to continue with these positive actions. When you expect the same thoughtful actions from them, they are learning acceptable behavior in the safest social setting, the home. It’s also essential that kids see how you treat others and that you are an excellent example for them to imitate. Parents who are loving towards their children help them be more affectionate and open to other kids. The positive effects of genuine affection between a parent and child cannot be understated, not only does the child thrive emotionally, but physically too.
Why not try some of these suggestions if you have a son or daughter who is shy and has a difficult time in social settings. The important thing is to guide your children when in public settings but let them lead. They will feel valued, and it will be easier for them to manage in the long run. Above all, be patient and have fun with your kids.