Helping your child develop social skills

  • My child is both very outgoing and surprisingly shy. Any time she meets someone new, adult or child, her first reaction is to stand off (or look to her mom or me for cover). Given a little time and exposure however she warms up quickly and will soon be off playing merrily with the same person. Through play dates, time at preschool, and trips to parks and such, we work to vary the people she meets and give her time to come out of her shell. How do you encourage your child to get out and meet new people?

  • I think time is definitely the key to this. My little one is all smiles and cuteness once she is out of her shell, but it takes a while for her to get there. Over the summer, a girlfriend of mine babysat for my kids when my husband and I had to go to a wedding. This was really the first time my youngest had spent any time with her and she was not comfortable about it. After that night, my daughter was very shy and standoffish with my friend. But the more she saw her, the more she became comfortable with her. Now, she loves my friend and asks to see her.

    It's natural for any child to be anxious about meeting new people and want to get comfort from those she trusts. Encouraging her to see for herself that the situation is safe and good is a great way to help ease that transition from unknown to comfy.

  • That is completely normal....though I never experienced it..... the ONLY people that either of my boys are leery of are ones that I am leery of as well.  It actually bothers me because they are too friendly and in this day and age it's a scary concept.  The little old lady in the grocery store could really be shopping for something more than food.... You never know and thats my point..... my boys at 3 and 5 have no fear and talk to everyone even if they aren't being talked to!  It's a scary situation and I'm not sure how to react sometimes.