Not only do I have one shy kid, but I have two! Ever since Ethan and Millie were little, they have always had a hard time being outspoken, and keeping a conversation going with people they first meet. Whether we get a compliment at the store or kids are trying to play with them at the park. They always seem to take a while to warm up to the idea of something new. At first, I was a little embarrassed when people would try to ask them questions at the grocery store, and all they did was turn their heads.
I never realized what they were going through until I read up on it and realized that Me, as their parent, have a lot to do with helping them step out of their comfort zone, and teach them how to handle certain situations.
Seeing Millie as my shadow when we are out in public places or afraid to be alone on the play gym while her brother is at school, it’s hard. Why? Because she is the most outgoing little girl, you could ever meet. Her imagination comes to life through all the stories she tells all day long. And to be quite honest, she never stops talking! So, why doesn’t she act this way in front of people she doesn’t know? Because she takes after her mother. Me. I can’t seem to start up a conversation with new people, and I’m not showing her how to handle new people with confidence. I guess you can say I’m a bit awkward.
I want my children to be as confident in themselves as possible. But with that, I need to be as confident in myself as well. When you become a parent, and your babies start turning into toddlers, you never realize how much they TRULY look up to you. I always imagined what type of mother I would be to my kids one day, and the hard truth is that there is no tomorrow, I need to be exactly who I want them to be TODAY! You are your child’s only hope.
The word shy is often used so negatively. It’s not a bad thing to be shy; we like to observe from afar, we like to think before we speak, and we role play in our minds (A lot). I notice when Millie turns her back on a new friend, she doesn’t mean to be mean. In fact, I can totally tell she wants to play. It’s just her finding that confidence in herself to make this scenario happened.
Just the other day we took Ethan to his friends birthday party, and while there I was observing how Millie was playing with the other kids. And even though she was running Around with them all, she wasn’t saying much. We went home with her talking about how much fun she had the entire day. And while at home, she was role playing the party again, this time with her bears. She was chit chatting away with all the kids (her bears) that were at the party. I felt guilty as her mom that I couldn’t make this scenario she was replaying happened in real life.
After doing tons and tons of research, I am giving myself some homework. And for those of you reading this, I hope it helps you deal with having shy kids, better than you already are.
1.) always make the situation positive. Your child is going to come to you when they are uncertain, always show them the good in every situation.
2.) be a confident role model – start conversations with strangers at the grocery store, or wherever you may be. Always be friendly and smile at your neighbors. This will be tough, but I’m willing to give it a go.
3.) teach your kids social skills- eye contact, smiles, handshakes, and responding to questions directed at them.
4.) always let them know that feeling nervous is okay
5.) Understand your child’s worries. Don’t make them feel bad about it, or make a negative judgment.
6.) don’t force them into a situation they aren’t comfortable with. We, as parents, want nothing more than to see our kids interact with other kids. Don’t force it because It will scare them away. We have to let it happened with their timing and just keep encouraging in the meantime.
7.) always take a conversation starter (whether it’s their favorite toy or snacks!) We love to bring our Kabrita yogurt pouches because the kids seem to love it! And we always carry extra just in case they have “friends” to share with. *READ MORE ABOUT THESE DELICIOUS, KID FRIENDLY SNACKS BELOW*
8.) Give your child a chance to interact- take them to the park, the store, or even enroll them in an activity a few times a week. This step is going to be hard because being a stay at home mom, with a shared car. We rarely have time. But it’s so important to make time!
9.) don’t label your kid shy. I’m so guilty of this. I never thought that saying the word “shy” would have such an adverse impact on my child’s life. They use the word “shy” like it’s a bad thing. And it’s all my fault.
Were these tips helpful? How do you handle your child’s social awkwardness? Do you even acknowledge it? let’s chat. Leave your comments below!