For a reserved child, their shell is their safety net, and stepping into a situation they’re uncomfortable with—entering a childcare services program, for example—can be difficult. Not every child is born an extrovert, and that’s okay! For a child to fully leave their shell, they may need some encouragement. Not everybody wants to leave their safe space, but giving a child reassurance can inspire them to make the effort to grow.
Follow Their Interests
Forcing a child to do something they’re not interested in can discourage them from wanting to leave their shell. Of course, encouraging a child to do something different and out of their comfort zone is great! But, forcing them will only make it difficult. When trying to get them to leave their shell for the first time, try and stick to their general interests. If it’s something they’re interested in, they’ll more than likely do it.
Practice Social Skills
It’s possible to boost your child’s confidence by practicing one-on-one social skills! For example, if someone asks a question about your child, have them answer in response. If you’re buying something from the store, have your child pay. If they’re ordering ice cream, have them state which flavor they want. Encourage them when they do, and have them interact with others. In turn, they may be more comfortable leaving their shell without anyone around.
Reinforce Efforts Made
The best way to encourage a child to step out of their shell is to reinforce them when they make the effort to do so! When a child steps out of their shell or does something well outside of their comfort zone, no matter how small, support their behavior. Reinforcing them for having the courage to try something new will encourage them to step outside of their shell in the future—because they see the reward that comes with it.
Warm Them Up
Instead of throwing them headfirst into a situation they aren’t comfortable with, take the time to warm your child up to social interactions. Instead of forcing them into a school environment or large group, start small. Try one-on-one playdates and small social circles to get your child used to larger groups. Throwing them in headfirst will discourage them from trying, so taking the time to warm them up will slowly get them acquitted to different environments.
As a parent, you may be shy or extroverted, but it’s not right to expect the same of your child. If you’re an extrovert parent, don’t show disappointment if your child is struggling to leave their shell. As shy parents, kids are known to mimic behavior around them. If you’re anxious or worried, do your best not to show it or your child will mimic that behavior. Be understanding of their concerns and accept them the way they are while supporting their efforts.
For children who are struggling with being themselves, in-home childcare can help support and encourage a child to leave their shell. If you’re a parent in the Bronx region looking to find quality Bronx childcare that will do just that, visit Wonderschool today!