Building Social Skills In Shy Children
It gets to this time of year, and we all think, “Uni students!”’ Often overlooking the younger ones that have moved up to secondary school, to primary or even some little one’s first time in nursery.
Many children haven’t spent much time away from their parents or relatives, so new experiences like starting nursery, meeting new people, or simply being away from parents can be stressful for both parents and children. Every child is unique, and some will flourish in an environment where there are lots of new people to make friends with and engage with. However, if your child is someone who is a little bit shy and has trouble interacting with new people while they are away from you, keep reading.
Here are some suggestions for supporting your child while helping them build social skills.
Focus on your child’s feelings!
The best way to understand your child’s feelings is by asking! Children understand more than we realise, and sometimes you just have to ask the right questions and be patient. Then, you can begin to help your child understand and validate their own feelings.
Help build their confidence!
While encouraging your child to express their thoughts is a positive first step towards boosting their self-esteem, you should also help them come to terms with their unique self. Remind your child that being quiet or shy is perfectly OK! Everyone is different. It’s no big deal. Additionally, remember to celebrate their efforts and to be empathetic and patient when things don’t go so well.
Push them, but don’t be pushy!
Giving your child the right push is about not being too pushy and hearing your child when they say they don’t feel comfortable, but encouraging them to do different things. Sometimes, you might have to put your foot down and say, “Today you’re going to go to this activity, try to enjoy and make new friends; if you still don’t like it, you don’t have to go back!”
Before attending this new activity or place full of new people, it’s good to prepare your child, like a little pep talk. Let them know that it might be a little bit scary, and there will be lots of new people, but reassure them that it’s okay if they fail in making friends; the most important thing is that they try.
How great are they?
SO GREAT! So remind them! Being shy can come with stigmas; people may often ask things like, “Why are you so quiet?… Why don’t you go and play with everyone else?” And it may occasionally give your child the impression that being quiet and reserved is a bad thing when, in reality, it’s just who they are. You can be shy and still have good social skills; you just have to teach your child how. While doing so, remind them of the great qualities they have and acknowledge how well they’re doing for making an effort.
You might be reading this and feeling that you were a shy child yourself, that your shyness held you back throughout the years because you were never encouraged to step outside of your comfort zone, or that your shyness evolved into something more, like social anxiety. Well, it’s never too late to ask for support from one of our counsellors at my Solution Wellbeing to learn how to develop those social skills and boost your confidence for yourself or your child.
Why not visit our social media page, Facebook, for more information and tips for mental health?
Child Counsellors at My Solution Wellbeing can provide your children with the skills they need to deal with some of their most significant issues as well as a secure place to express themselves, identify, and work through some of the challenges they experience.
By Eva Domingos, a counsellor at My Solution Well-being.
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