Some children are born more socially anxious than other children, so they often have difficulty reaching out and making new friends. In spite of social anxieties, socialization is still very important for children, and with a little help most kids can begin to connect with others. Parental support, encouragement, and actions can all play a role in helping kids to adapt.
Allow Kids to Express Fears
When children are not comfortable in social situations, it may be difficult for them to understand what’s going on and why they feel so anxious. Giving them a safe place to express their fears may help them to work through some of their issues and eventually overcome some of these issues. Offering support and simply listening without providing advice can be very helpful.
Demonstrate Confident Behaviors
Kids learn how to interact with the world by watching their parents, so greeting people warmly and comfortably can show kids a basic example of how to interact with others. Remind kids about little social cues that may not always come naturally, such as making eye contact and smiling. Some kids may benefit from role playing or playing little games that help them learn how to interact with different people in different situations.
Provide Children with Opportunities for Socialization
It may seem like kids have plenty of opportunities for socialization at school, but socially anxious children may simply move from one class and situation to another in school without interacting with other children. The large numbers of students at school may be overwhelming for kids that don’t make friends right away. Allowing children to socialize in situations such as at a park, swimming hole, or event may help them to practice socializing and make friends in a situation with less pressure.