When your child enters a new phase or a new classroom, it’s always going to be an adjustment. Kids spend a lot of time with their classmates. Not all kids will be friends with everyone they meet. If a child is shy, has recently moved or has recently experience a major life event, making new friends can be even harder. Here are a few tips for encouraging friendships with shy students.

1Don’t label them: When you label your child, it tends to define who we, as parents, believe they are. Validate your child’s feelings by saying “He looks a bit uneasy around all these kids”, instead of “Of course you don’t like being at birthday parties- You’re shy!”

Never push them to be something they are not:  While labeling a kid is not a great choice, it also doesn’t do you any good to insist that they be someone they are not. Your child may exhibit different behavior in different situations depending on their level of comfort. Reminding junior that he LOVES the swings at home isn’t going to help him when he’s scared to go join the other kids on the swing set.

Help your child build confidence: Children who are less outgoing have a better time approaching other kids when they are not overwhelmed by noise and other distractions of huge proportions.

Talk with the teacher: Teachers might have study buddies so that they can work on assignments together. It may be easier for your child to makes friends in a one-on-one environment rather than a large group.

Give your child praise: When a child feels valued and cherished, their self-confidence rises and it shows. You can help them grow confident by giving them opportunities to showcase their unique gifts and then praising their efforts. Things like cooking, martial arts, or even helping you take care of a younger sibling.

Don’t talk in the negative about school: At the end of the day, your child is tired and just wants to relax Don’t grill them with negatives like “Did you play by yourself again today?” or things of that nature. Your child needs to be able to tell you if they had a hard day and being negative isn’t letting them know that it’s ok and that you want to hear about their day.

Written by Cleo Neufeld

Cleo Neufeld

Before meeting the love of her life, Cleo was a single mother to a beautiful little girl for many years. She shares her expertise in single parenting, building a relationship, living on a budget and more.