How to help a shy child make friends

Some children are naturally shy, and others are naturally extroverted. And the last thing you want to do is force a shy child to go and play with others. That will only make him or her even less willing to socialize.

As parents, we naturally want our kids to go and make friends. Nothing makes us very sad other than your child not having any friends at all, and always playing alone. Your child that is shy may even feel bad enough about being shy, and this will be frustrating for parents as well.

However, instead of being upset with your child for not being outgoing, you need to encourage your child to socialize but in ways that he or she will do so naturally- without causing any damage to your child’s self-esteem.

The first thing is to avoid using labels.

You don’t want to label your introverted child as “the shy one” and your extroverted child as “your little beauty” or “firecracker”. Because your shy child will be less likely to engage with others the older he or she becomes and will own up to being the “shy one” for life. Therefore, the fear of trying new things will be reinforced as well. No one can get through life with that kind of mindset.

Shyness can also be interpreted as being “the wallflower” or “awkward” or “withdrawn” which are negative terms which are very damaging to a child’s self-esteem.

Instead, acknowledge the fact that your child is introverted by saying how it appears that he or she is uneasy around other kids than pointing out how shy he or she is!

You also must acknowledge that the child needs time to get used to new things, but always tell the child that you believe that he or she can achieve so much! This way, the child doesn’t feel pressured to do something new right away but also is encouraged to keep going and keep trying!

Whatever you do, never criticize a child that has a shy disposition.

Never tell the child to “stop being so timid”. That again will only discourage the child from getting out of his or her comfort zone. Words have a huge impact on children more than adults realize. Always choose your words wisely.

However, one way to encourage reserved children to leave their comfort zone is to ask the child which classmates he or she feels comfortable with and likes. Surely there will be someone the child can play with. Then get in contact with the teacher, and have the teacher encourage the kids to work together and become “study buddies”,

If a reserved child sees that another kid likes him or her, that in itself will help him or her become a little more outgoing, but again at the comfortable pace.

Having a child that is naturally shy can be worrisome for parents due to the fear the child will never want to try new things and will end up alone. However, with the right tactics and right words to use to encourage the child to take risks- your child will be just fine as long as he or she is going at the pace that is right.