My child is relatively shy. What should I do to help him socialize with others?

Philippines
April 5, 2010 10:59am CST
I have a three year old child. He is intelligent. He can write his name, count 1-100, draw,color and read! My problem is that he doesn't want to talk in the presence of other people. I'm convincing him to go to kindergarten so he can have playmates aside from his sister but he prefers to stay home. I want him to start socializing because I believe he has lots of potential. Am I doing the right thing?
3 people like this
23 responses
@ada8may21 (2420)
• Philippines
6 Apr 10
What you are doing right now is the right thing. Sending him to kindergarten would help him to socialize with other kids. But like others say you can't force him to mingle or being sociable. Let him do it step by step. Since he likes to draw why not enroll him in a drawing and art workshop. Maybe he can enjoy that one.
• Philippines
6 Apr 10
Art workshop, that's a good idea. I'll try that one. Thanks!
@ada8may21 (2420)
• Philippines
6 Apr 10
Yes I hope he will like it and enjoy the group.
@patgalca (12209)
• Canada
5 Apr 10
Both of my children were very shy as children (as was I and my mother). Honestly, I don't think you can push a child into being sociable. My girls are 13 and 16 and when I take them to a family event, my mother will say, "Look, this is so-and-so, she is the same age as you." But my kids won't even talk to them. They don't know them and probably won't see them again. They just sit in a corner together. You just can't force it. Keep having people around and eventually they will come out of it on their own. Your child is only 3 years old. My younger daughter would crawl away as fast as she could when someone came to the door; my older daughter hid behind me all the time as a youngster. When they became old enough I enrolled them in activities that interested them from gymnastics to bowling to soccer and Taekwondo (not all at the same time). They found the activity they like best and have made some great friends through them, as well as at school. I really think you ought to let nature take it's course. If you push your son he will withdraw even more. It may take several years but as long as you don't allow him to be a complete loner, he will eventually make his own friends, friends he likes not ones you pick for him. My nephew was not much of a talker at all when he was young. Even to his own mother he didn't speak much. At 30+ years of age I find he is still very quiet but he is engaged and about to become a father, has lots of friends and done really well in life. Give your son a couple of more years. If after he is in school a couple of years he is still causing you concern you might want to take him to a doctor. I have to tell you that my younger daughter was so shy in kindergarten (4 years old) she refused to speak to the teacher when she had to go to the bathroom. She would NOT go. She came home from school one day soaking wet, or she'd run in the door the minute she got home from school. At 13 she has tons of friends, is very outgoing and a great comedian. Please don't worry so much.
• Philippines
5 Apr 10
Thanks! What you've shared here made me feel better...I really appreciate you for writing this.
@patgalca (12209)
• Canada
6 Apr 10
That's what we're here for... to help each other. Thanks for the best response mark.
• United States
14 Apr 10
My child is the same age and he is very shy too. He's very smart but when new people come around him he is very shy and won't speak to them even when I tell him to say hello or something like that. I put him in t-ball with other kids his age and he just started the end of last month so I'm hoping that will help him get out of some of his shyness. I'm also thinking about putting him in preschool so he will be with other kids and hopefully that will help him not be so shy around other people.
• Philippines
15 Apr 10
Thanks for sharing. BTW, what is t-ball?
@rajaiv0810 (1013)
• Philippines
6 Apr 10
When my daughter was at that age she was also very shy and she can't communicate. We were very worried because she can't speak. We brought her to the doctor and the doctor recommended her to go to a specialized school for children with special needs. We placed her there for a month but it wasn't that helpful because there were few people. We enrolled her to have summer classes and everything was history. Right now she is unstoppable. She is so bubbly and she can easily find friends. She would go to a child and ask for her name and so on. My advice for you is to choose the right school for your child which is not too academic. Preferably Montessori or Waldorf training so that they cannot feel the pressure of going to school early. If your child will be put in this environment you would see it yourself that he will bloom. Of course it would still depend on his development but if he would be exposed with other children, with different activities he would start to interact and he would slowly overcome his shyness. Goodluck. By the way, I tried to visit your blog but it was not working.
• Philippines
6 Apr 10
Thanks for sharing. Btw, I've just started my blog...I think it's working now. Thanks for the visit. I hope you'll try again.
• United States
6 Apr 10
I was horribly shy when I was young, as was my mother. To break the cycle, she put my niece into dance class at age three. When my nephew was three, she took him to the same dance school, and he did (and still does) gymnastics and jazz. I can tell you that it worked for them. I now have a three year old. I have her in tap dance. I also started her going to pre-school twice per week. I am lucky in that I found a pre-school close to me that has a Chinese immersion program. So in the morning, it is regular pre-school, and in the afternoon she is learning to speak Chinese. She is coming out of her shell beautifully. She still has her moments of shyness, but they are few and far between. Isn't three too young for kindergarten? I know that he is advanced, and that pre-school may not be able to teach him anything, academiaclly speaking, that he doesn't already know, but the interaction with the other children and the songs, storytimes, games and playtimes may help bring him out a bit. Plus he doesn't have to go five days a week, so it might be a little bit less stressful on him.
• Philippines
6 Apr 10
Thanks! I'll look for a learning center that has twice a week class or a playschool perhaps.
@trotter (102)
• China
6 Apr 10
i was very shy and didn't want to socialize with others at one time .i think you are doing the right thing.it'll doing good to your child.besides bring him to kindergarten,i think you can do the things : often talk to him ,take a tour with him ,that'll broaden his horizon and make him more outgoing .more importantly, encourage and praise him often and give him confidence. i hope that's helpful.
• Philippines
6 Apr 10
Thanks! Sound advice...
@sid556 (31030)
• United States
6 Apr 10
Hi teacherplacer, Sounds like you are doing the right thing but be careful not to push him too hard. I am selective mute and one of my daughter's is also. It looks like shyness but it is a lot more intense. It is an anxiety disorder. I did not take meds for it but rather worked at overcoming it and still it hits at times. Pushing too much can make it worse. At his young age it is almost impossible to tell if it is just normal shyness or something more. Look up Selective Mute on the net for more info. My experience as an advocate for my daughter in the schools is that they don't know much about this.
• Philippines
6 Apr 10
Oh thanks! I'll check this out. I'll do some study. Good thing you've shared this to me.
@barehugs (8992)
• Canada
5 Apr 10
I grew up on a farm in the country with no playmates during the Second World War. We were quite isolated in the country, and there was no TV no Kindergarten, and no close neighbors with small kids. I was petrified at elementary school. So scared, I got sick and missed a whole year. My parents took us kids to the occasional movie, but I usually picked the wrong guy as the hero, and I got to see him die. Oh how I hated movies! Even at 16, and starting my first bank account, I was so scared |I couldn't write my own name. Take your child with you every time you go out. Take him shopping, take him to church, make an effort to introduce him to your friends and relatives. Invite your friends children to play, and get you child invited back. Go with him the first time, and realize how horrible this thing can be to a young child. His whole life can be adversely affected. Get started now, and make his horrible little life happy!
• Philippines
5 Apr 10
Very touching...Thanks for the advice. I'll do that.
• Philippines
7 Apr 10
Is he always at home? Maybe he should spend sometime outside to mingle with other children of his age. Instead of kindergarten, where some children are afraid to go to the first time, maybe you should bring him to a playschool where there is more playing than schooling. Let him attend more children's parties or kids activities.
@SViswan (12096)
• India
7 Apr 10
Sending him to a school is a good idea. But as a parent, I wouldn't push him too hard to socialize. Some children take time and learn by example...having only a sibling at home might not encourage a child to socialize. Being in a school environment will help your son to see how other children behave and to learn to socialize as well as handle situations. I have a 3 year old (my younger son) and I've also been a kindergarten teacher...each child is different. Give him the space and environment and he will do well. Btw, your son is very smart for his age:)
@chan2020 (10)
• India
6 Apr 10
This is the problem with the new generation. They are not brave and courageous enough to face anyone face to face. Encourage him to go out and let him play with your relative's child rather than neighbours. If neighbours hurt him for something, he will feel heart-broken. Then It become very hard to socialize him.
@sharuna (90)
• India
6 Apr 10
Don't pressurize your child to socialize as this will revert the effect.Let it happen naturally...Give him/her opportunity to mingle with others ..like allowing to play with neighbors .
• Philippines
6 Apr 10
I think you should give him a friend. A friend who has his same age and easily convinced too. You could ask that friend to accompany him at school. That'd be my suggestion.
• United Arab Emirates
6 Apr 10
My younger brother is like that, he is 9 years old, he is very intelligent, he gets first or second position in school, wether in exam, any project or game, but he is too shy or i would say has lack of confidence to hang around other kids... when we go for picnic or to any freinds home, instead of playing with kids he sits with my mom the whole time and drinks tea or coffee.... he is too young for this all.. I dont know how to get him out of it...
• China
6 Apr 10
When I was a child , I was also disturbed by such a trouble. I was also shy faced with others , even including my little friends. However ,with the help of my sister ,I was learning how to overcome my discourage gradually. To your child,my suggestion is to find a elder sister or brother who will teach your child how to get along with others .When your child find himself/herself interested among the friends, socialization will be no longer a problem
@cupkitties (6436)
• United States
6 Apr 10
Help him build some confidence. Some people are afraid to talk to others because they're afraid of how they will react to them or that they might say the wrong things. If he's as smart as you say it could be he can't relate well to the other kids. If they aren't on the same page as him, he may not be interested in whatever they wish to converse about.
@lady1993 (12529)
• Philippines
6 Apr 10
yes, i think you are doing the right thing- being a good parent, but first you can take him to different schools so he will know what it's like there and see that there's nothing to be afraid of...when i first went to school my mom was always with me until i was 6- i was really a shy kid too- until now.. but sooner or later your son will gain friends in his own way..
• Indonesia
6 Apr 10
kindergarten very good first step.you child will lear sosialize with your friend. Altough in the beginning may a seem a bit awkward but trust your child be gradually enjoying life a kindergarten. and give balanced portion between learn and sosialize. hopefully your child can show their potencial....
@lingli_78 (12860)
• Australia
5 Apr 10
well, i used to be really a shy girl as well when i was still a child... what my parents did to me is try to make me to socialise by bringing me out more often and meet more people... also, they make me learn some lessons like music, swimming and ballet and i get to know more people from there as well... it does really help with me opening up myself beside just going to school... good luck... take care and have a nice day...
@qamarep (4453)
• Pakistan
5 Apr 10
wow you have educated him very early.. that is also my case i was just like that when i was that old.. try to talk to psychologist and work as he says . dont take it wrong. i know what i have been through not being with a psychologist. but those are the guys who really know our minds and tricks to better..