If you were shy as a child, you might be worrying about how your own child will fare when starting preschool. While it can be hard for us shy moms to know where to start when helping our kids be social, there are several things we can do to help our children grow in social confidence and begin to make friends. It may be uncomfortable at times for you (as it is for me), but having a happy, social child despite my own shyness is extremely rewarding.
Don’t project your experiences onto your child.
The first thing you should remember when encouraging your child to be social is that their childhood is not yours. It can be very easy to project your own experiences onto your child, especially if you were extremely shy. You might be more likely to put up your guard than your child is, which would be a big mistake. I’ve struggled with this myself. The easiest way to get around this difficulty is to try to look at your child’s social experiences through a child’s eyes. You obviously want to keep them from getting hurt, but don’t let that make you limit their experiences.
Teach your child to listen to others.
There are certain social skills that you can teach your child to prepare him or her for being social. While everyone is different, there are a few basic ones that you can work on with your child to prepare them for making friends. Start by teaching them to listen. Children get used to being the center of attention, which can cause conflict when there are several together. Start telling your child that there are times to listen and times to talk. Teach that conversation goes two ways, with a time for listening and a time for responding.
Explain that other children may behave differently.
Sharing is important, but your child should also know that other children won’t always do this and that the solution isn’t in getting mad, but in staying calm. Once your child understands that he or she can’t control other’s behavior, only his own, dealing with mean children will be easier.
Dealing with other people isn’t always easy and while this can be a hard concept to grasp, it’s worth it to try to teach this to your child so he or she is prepared for social situations. And hopefully, your child will be one of the best behaved children on the playground!
Looking for more tips? Check out these books for teaching your child manners.