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How to help your shy kids socialise

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If you are the parent of a shy child, whether reserved, introverted or quiet, you sometimes fill like you want them to break out of their shell. Especially when you want the world to savour and experience the many talents your child got. A parent will also feel the need to have her child socialise when they become nervous introducing themselves or leaving if they have to leave you for moments. Know that you are not alone in this.

There are definitely things parents can do to help ease their child into meeting new friends, a lot of it has to do with realising that shyness may just be a natural part of their personality. However, teaching them that, in the face of their aversions, they can still thrive and have great friendships is a role that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Try to take it slow and don’t push them. As with most aspects of parenting, if it is rushed or forced, it will simply backfire. Instead of signing your child up for new classes or play dates without their knowledge, or forcing them to join the soccer team, introduce them to new things and people slowly. Let them wade into new situations, as they feel comfortable.

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Always model confident behaviour in front of your children. This is one of the best things you can do to help your child become more comfortable around new people, Yes, model that same behaviour yourself. Teach them that there is a difference between shyness and being unconfident. They can love themselves, try new things and be an introvert all at the same time.

Realise shyness is not a problem to be fixed. Similar to modeling confident behaviour comes the mindset switch that many parents should make. Our society places a high value on being extroverted, having lots of friends, and being in the spotlight, which can make it even more difficult for introverts to feel valued or important. Instead of buying into this same mentality, accept your child for who they are, realising that shyness isn’t a problem to be fixed, but rather a personality trait to be embraced and occasionally stretched. There’s nothing wrong with helping your child get more comfortable in social situations, but do so with care, not force.

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Teach them that one or two good friends is better than lots of not-so-good friends. With all the pressure that kids face to be popular, it can be saddening to hear that your child feels they can’t make new friends. Help them remember that there’s greater value and security in a few great friends they can trust and have fun with than fitting in with a crowd who doesn’t care about them in the same way. It is more important that your child feels connected than whether or not they are the life of the party.

Avoid labeling them; as with all personality types, there is great variety within the label of introvert or shy. Instead of placing them in a box that they will likely come to see themselves, help them realise that their personality doesn’t have to fit inside a label.

Try not to over protect them: A natural part of parenting is wanting to shield your child from pain and judgement from others. However, over-protecting your child can cause them to withdraw further. You should also practice making friends. Helping your child learn to make new friends by role-playing with them before the fact. You can even read books about making new friends, and talk them through on how to introduce themselves and even help prepare them further.

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