Is your child shy, solitary, or seems uncomfortable around other kids? He is not very social and it makes you worry. The return to school is the right time to help your kid be more social and reach out to other children.
Children and sociability
Socialization is every parent’s Holy Grail! As soon as they can walk, parents encourage their children to communicate and share with the people around them: by putting them in collective care facilities or inciting repeated contacts with their peers, parents push their kids to belong to a group. Sometimes even against the child’s nature!
Indeed, before the age of 2, children are not naturally inclined to interact with others. They are self-centered and… it is completely normal! Don’t try to skip the steps of your child’s development. Egocentric behavior is natural for children, and can last until adolescence. However, children learn to interact and bond with other children as soon as they enter pre-school. First friendships, first conflicts… It allows children to reveal their personality.
Some are introverts, more shy or just happy with themselves: they indulge in their imagination and therefore are perfectly content with solitude. It is a personality trait! No need to force them into a group, by joining a sports team for example: it would be in vain…
Other children have trouble reaching out to their peers: they may feel different because of a physical feature or uncommon interests, they can experience trouble relating to their peers and feel frustrated. They don’t know how to adapt and fit in: you must be there to help them.
Apply simple rules
An introvert child can have trouble following the simple rules of social life: say hello, be polite and friendly… It may drive people away as a consequence! Remind your kid that it takes effort on both parts and that he also needs to make a push.
If your kid has acquired good manners but lacks sociability, explain that social is a game that requires to follow certain “rules”: go up to other people, cooperate when you partake in a game or a collective work, respond to solicitations, are among those rules and it is the behavior that is expected of a child, by his parents as well as his teachers.
Finally, build up your child’s confidence. Sometimes, difficult socialization arises from a physical complex: too short, too chubby, glasses… Children can be tough with each other; your kid may have suffered remarks and isolate or turn down contacts as a consequence. Motivate him by insisting on the fact that every child is unique and has an interesting personality, beyond appearances. Teach him how to reply to mockery with humor!
Pinpoint your common traits !
Sometimes, kids refrain from socializing because they can’t find any common connection with others. Robotics, arts and crafts, science: choose your kid’s extracurricular activities according to his tastes in order to make him meet other kids with the same interests. It’s easier to make friends this way! You can also want to try cutting your “wild” kid more slack: more autonomy and freedom can help him open up to others. And if you’re concerned about your child’s safety, get a Weenect GPS tracker and let him go to school or computer science class on his own; you may be surprised to see how one, two or three friends tag along on the way… Socialization is also a sign of growing up.
To be social or not to be social? We are not all natural “group leaders” or comfortable with drawing attention to ourselves: certain kids are happy with their (relative) solitude and can simply be introverts or contemplative kids. However, if you feel like the situation is imposed on your kid and causes distress, it is your duty to encourage him and show him how to find his place and fit in to his community.