Convos

Helping my shy daughter make friends

My daughter is really shy. She absolutely loves playing with other kids, but only if they go up to her and make the first move. She'll never initiate anything. If no one asks, she'll simply wait and play by herself How do I bring out her social skills? (I'm also shy. She gets it from me.)

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Greg Szimonisz
I taught my son in steps. I started encouraging him at 2 -3 years old to introduce himself to kids on the playground. At first I would walk up to children with him, holding his hand, so he was comfortable. I'd be the match maker and say "This is Preston. Would you like to play with him?" More often they would, if not, we'd say thank you and find another playmate. After making a few new friends, he began to understand the payoff for putting himself out there. As he grew, I'd still hold his hand but tell him exactly what to say, and he'd shyly say it. Once he realized that the occasional rejection wasn't such a big deal, he lost his fear. He's five now and will run into almost any crowd and try to make friends (though bigger kids are still intimidating). I've seen him rejected sometimes and I feel a twinge of agony, but it doesn't seem to bother him, because he's also had plenty of successes along the way, so he just moves on. I was shy as a kid so it's pretty heartwarming to see his progress.
Lisa Hansen
Not sure for her age an if she's in preschool / school but if so, ask the teacher to recommend a few kids and invite them over for some one-on-one play.
Shirin Behnia
Some kids are introverted, which is a little different than shy. Maybe she just has a rich inner world or a strong imagination that keeps her occupied? Before doing anything, I would first feel her out to see if she's shy and really wants to make friends but is nervous or uncomfortable initiating it, or if it's that the thought doesn't maybe cross her ming because she's busy with her own ideas. If it is that she's try, I think however hard it is for you, you're going to have to be a role model here and show her how to make the first move. Maybe hold her hand and make the move together.