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Helping Your Shy Child Deal With Social Situations

Whether it is a Memorial Day family reunion, a Fourth of July church barbecue, or a birthday party, kids and adults will have plenty of opportunities to socialize this summer. However, what if your child is introverted and dreads such gatherings? Do not despair—there are ways to help your child adjust to his or her surroundings and have fun.

Do Not Insist on Contact

Many gatherings, especially family ones, get tense because adult guests insist on contact with kids. Whether that is Grandma seeking a hug or a cousin wanting to play-wrestle, it can be overwhelming for a shy kid. Warn guests gently but firmly that your child may not hug or kiss right away, and that is okay. Encourage your child to smile and say hello, and let it go at that.

Prepare Your Kid

Introverted kids often clam up and shut down because they do not have time to mentally prepare for big parties or reunions. To help, tell them well ahead of time when the event is, who will be there, and what you will do. For example, say, “Cousin Mia is coming, and she likes to read, like you do. Maybe you two can talk about favorite books.”

Do Something He Likes

Kids will feel comfortable at big gatherings if they know they will enjoy some part of it. For example, if your kid is going to a classmate’s birthday party, you might say, “I know how much you love animals, and they are going to the zoo.” If you are the one hosting, consider making a favorite food or adding a favorite game to the itinerary.