My son has always been a bit on the shy side. Unlike some of his friends (and his mother), Kellan is not one to dive right into new social settings. He likes to check out what the other kids are doing before he becomes comfortable joining in or talking. Once during summer camp, I dropped him off in front of the classroom and then stood where he couldn't see me - my version of being a fly on the wall.
When one of the teachers asked him if he wanted to join a group building a tower, he shook his head. He loves to build things so I wondered what he was going to do. He just sat on the floor with his hands on his knees. It was hard leaving the building rather than going back and encouraging him to play with the other kids.
Now when I drop Kellan off at preschool, he tries to hide behind my legs when his teacher greets us. I feel like I am constantly cajoling him to say good morning to her and his classmates. Even on play dates, it takes a warm up period before he interacts with friends.
I am trying not to make this a bigger deal than it is. While I would like for Kellan to be more confident, I know that preschool is still too young to start labeling children, but school anxiety is a very real problem. Experts say if your child insists on skipping school or complains of illness in order to avoid school, you should seek help right away.
Kellan does eventually break out of his shell at school and with friends. Hopefully, it will take less time as he gets older. I've been trying to schedule more one on one time with friends and doing more activities where he'll get a chance to meet new kids at places like the playground or the children's museum. It can be difficult for adults to navigate new social surroundings so I certainly should cut my own kid some slack!
Is your preschooler a social butterfly, or is he or she more likely to watch from the sidelines? How do you help your child break out of his or her shell?