Your little one might be the child who greets strangers in stores and who feels at ease in new situations. Great! On the other hand, if your child is overly shy, he or she is missing out on a lot of fun. Of course, it's normal for kids to feel a little bit intimidated by new situations. If it takes your child a long time to feel comfortable, there are some great things you can do to help him or her feel more confident.
Start At Home - Do you already set up play dates at your house? If so, set up situations that will help him or her to be more social at home. For example, when you hear the doorbell or a knock at the door, be sure that your child accompanies you to greet guests. When it's time for treats, encourage your child to serve. If you haven't had play dates for your child in the past, start with just one little guest. Later, increase the number of children who will be part of the group.
Going Out With Parents - Take your child with you as you run errands. Even if you don't need the help, show your child how to interact with people by asking for assistance in different situations. For example, while you're in the produce section of your grocery store, make it a point to ask a worker which apples are the best for making apple pie. You might know that already, but the point is for your child to see how the exchange of words helped you. When it's time to order lunch, encourage your child to order his or her own food. Do you need extra ketchup for the French fries you've ordered? Show your child how easy it is to just say, "More ketchup, please."
Child Care Helps - A great way for your child to be less shy is by being in a safe setting away from home and away from you. You've probably already left him with a friend or with relatives, but going to a child care center might be the best next step for your child. Start your child with just one or two mornings every week and then add more days. Having a nurturing caregiver will teach your child how to trust. Playing with other children might be scary at first, but soon your child will be making friends and joining in the fun. In addition, he or she will learn about taking turns and sharing toys. In addition, your child will be preparing for the time that he or she will be attending kindergarten. Educational toys, reading time, music time and outdoor play will be part of every day spent in a great setting.
At the end of every day, get your child to tell you the parts of the day he or she liked best and ask your child to help you plan activities for the next day. For further assistance, contact a local child care center, such as Kaye Kare Child Care Center.