I have been working hard for the last 6 weeks to give my girl some social skills, so maybe, just maybe, she wouldn't end up as shy as I was. Since we started, she has definitely changed, now going up to other children, playing without me, and generally being nice to people. Check out these two posts here and here to see the progression. How have we done this? Here is my secret:
Baby Steps: we did everything at her pace, I never pushed her into anything she didn't want to do. If we were somewhere and she was clinging to me, I would allow it and let her get comfortable in her own time. At first it would take an hour, now it takes no time at all.
Fun activities: Everything we did was fun for her as well as social, so she wanted to participate more. Dance, church, story time, and MOPS all had activities catered to her age group.
Communicating in Advance: Everytime I had to leave her somewhere, like Sunday School, I would let her know in advance. I would say "I can't go with you but I promise I'm not very far away and if you need me I can come". This helped her know that she had options and wasn't stuck. I also would tell her how long it would be until we got her. Even though she doesn't really have a great sense of time yet it really made a difference.
Talking after: We always talk about what she did and how much fun she had, but we also talked about if she talked to any one or made friends. If she said no, then I ask her why and explain why she shouldn't be scared to talk to other kids. We also had lots of talks about why she cried when I would leave. She always said because she wanted Mommy. I would then reassure her I am always there for her but it's okay to be separate sometimes. I will always be back. This helped her understand that I wasn't just ditching her in some weird place.
Consistency: We have been very consistent with our social activities. This has helped her always feeling more confident each week.
Throughout the last 6 weeks I have watched her grow and change, but this week others have begun to notice as well. She is growing up and loosing her shyness in the process.
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