girl, mum and boy looking out from under a blanket

Some children are more shy than others, and there appears to be a genetic component to it. If you were to gather a group of children, there will invariably be a child or two who is super outgoing – and some of whom will be quiet wallflowers. Overcoming shyness is an important milestone for healthy social interactions and support later in life.

So if your child is more of a wallflower than the life of the party, there is good news for you. Her temperament can be influenced by how you react to her. To do this, however, we need to take a gradual approach and be sensitive to her needs.


Tips to encourage social behaviour

  • Encourage and reward helpfulness

Getting her to help with the dishes or taking out the trash makes her feel useful within a social context. When she is polite or thoughtful to others, let her know you are proud of her.

  • Set a good example

Action really does speak more powerfully than words. Your social behaviour will ultimately affect hers.

  • Show affection

A child who feels well-loved finds it easier to make friends.

  • Give her opening lines

If you find that she does not know how to initiate a conversation, you can teach her how to introduce herself by rehearsing some opening lines with her. “Hi. My name is Mary. Nice to meet you.” Giving her some candies to share with her potential friend is also a great way to break the ice.

  • Help her integrate

See if you can help her make her first friend, preferably with an outgoing child within her playgroup. It’s easier to make new friends after making the first one. Dressing her like other children also helps her to not stand out.

  • Make it worthwhile

Whenever she makes an attempt at socialising, praise her for trying. You can also get her new toys which she would like to share with her new friends when they come over. This way, you encourage mutual sharing while giving her an incentive to make friends.


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