Most toddlers go through a shy phase. Some quickly grow out of it and become social butterflies. Others remain hesitant about approaching other kids and may stay mute and hide away when spoken to by family friends or relatives.
While it’s possible that your child may simply grow up to be more of an introvert than an extrovert, it is important that your child is not so introverted that they cannot socially interact with others. Inability to socialise could negatively affect your child’s development and ability to learn when they eventually reach school. But just how can you teach a shy kid to be more social? Below are just a few tips for helping your toddler to come out of their shell.
Have conversations with your child
Practising conversations with your child can help them to develop the social skills needed to negotiate social situations. Regularly talking to your kids can help them to build vocabulary, develop listening skills and learn how to take turns and form responses.
Make an effort to ask questions to your kids and encourage them to give their opinions. It’s also important to always try to answer questions asked by your kids and not dismiss questions.
Prepare them for social situations
Throwing a shy toddler into a social situation without warning can be scary. It’s better to let toddlers know in advance that you’re going to a party or going to the park so that they can mentally prepare themselves.
On top of telling them where you’re going, you can also help to give pointers on what to say. For example, you can prepare answers for common questions asked by relatives. This may stop shy toddlers going mute when being asked a question.
Arriving at a social event when everyone is already there can be overwhelming for some kids. Shy toddlers may react by hiding behind you or not wanting to leave your lap.
Instead, try to arrive early so that your child can get used to the environment and make themselves comfortable. It’s much easier to approach one or two people than a whole group of people. This is a useful tip not just for shy toddlers, but people in general who may have social anxiety.
Choose pre-school and daycare services wisely
Preschool can be scary for some kids. However, you can make it less scary by choosing a reputable preschool.
The best preschools and daycare services will actively help your child to build social skills and feel more comfortable in social settings. You want your child to be nurtured and not just monitored.
Lead by example
How you react in social situations can influence your kids. If you sit in the corner of the room and don’t talk to anyone, it’s unreasonable to expect your kids to approach others and be outgoing.
Kids can learn how to greet people and how to open up conversations by imitating their parents. This is why it’s important to think about how you behave in social settings so that your kids can take inspiration.