6 ways to boost your child’s social skills

June 14, 2019
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    There is no single source of your wallflower’s shyness. Much depends on her personality, social experiences, and you and your spouse. Occasional episodes of shyness are perfectly normal and are nothing to worry about.

     

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    However, if your child is a regular social wallflower who shrinks from social contacts and who stands silent and red-faced when another child talks to her, then it’s time to help improve her social confidence.

    Related: How to help your child make friends

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  • Encourage her
    3 / 8 Encourage her

    Let her know that you care about her and that you want to help her overcome her difficulty, as this boosts her self-confidence.

    And avoid excessive pressure. The downside of your attention might be that your child becomes afraid you will push her too quickly into social situations that terrify her.

    Remind her that you will not force her into any social situation, but add that you expect her to make an effort.

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  • Take her out
    4 / 8 Take her out

    Make sure that your social wallflower doesn’t avoid social experiences, such as playing with other children or going to parties. If you allow her to stay at home all the time, she won’t have any opportunity to learn how to overcome her shyness.

    Related: Tips for helping your shy child

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  • Avoid pressuring her
    5 / 8 Avoid pressuring her

    Yet that doesn’t mean you should force her into the limelight by making her the centre of attention. Much as you would like her to be friendly, she will only do this when she feels ready. Pushing your child too soon to speak in front of others will increase her shyness.

    You could also read her stories about shy children (and how they overcome their shyness); you’ll be able to get suitable books from your local library or bookshop and you may find that these stories indirectly help her feel more confident.

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  • Teach her useful social skills
    6 / 8 Teach her useful social skills

    For instance, explain that she should make eye contact with other children when she meets them, that she should keep her shoulders back and hold her head up, and that she should make “small talk” if possible.

    Of course these are precisely the social skills that your social wallflower lacks (or she wouldn’t be shy in the first place!) but she can learn them.

    Practise them at home with your preschooler using role-play. She’ll love these pretend-play games and learn strategies for beating shyness at the same time.

    Related: Teach your only child social skills

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  • Be there for her
    7 / 8 Be there for her

    As she feels vulnerable in a social situation, especially when she enters a room with others, you should also provide direct support where possible.

    Try to ensure that her entrance attracts little attention. For instance, as you walk in with her, say something to draw attention to yourself so that your preschooler can slip into the crowd quietly.

    Or maybe you can mention to the playgroup leader that she doesn’t like to have the spotlight on her.

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  • Give her lots of reassurance
    8 / 8 Give her lots of reassurance

    Regularly remind her that she’s a great person, and that other children will like her. Point out that some of the others probably feel shy too, just like her.

    If she constantly tries to avoid mixing with her peers at playgroup or nursery, think about inviting other children her age over to your house to play with her.

    She’ll be less shy when taking part in supervised group activities at home.

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

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