How to Help a Shy Child Stay Social in the Summer

Getty / Emmerich-Webb
Shy children may need more coaxing to stay social in the summertime. Getty / Emmerich-Webb

Being shy can develop into a life-long issue if not managed during childhood. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help alleviate your child's shyness, and summertime is the perfect opportunity to do just that.

Family vacations are not only fun, but a great way to overcome shyness.

Your journey away from shyness can start on the road.

Make a stop at a public rest area, and mingle with other tourists who are passing through.

Hold your child's hand to reassure her of your presence, but also let her explore a little if she wants. Show her the activity pamphlets to help create excitement about the trip ahead and the many opportunities that there will be to make new friends.

Hotel pools can be another great opportunity to help with shyness, especially if there are other children having fun.

Bring your child in the pool with you at first and if he becomes comfortable, let him spend time with other children while you stay on the sidelines and observe.

Theme parks, especially those that have child areas, are a perfect opportunity to boost your child's social skills.

Most children, even those who are shy, open up when they see exciting rides, favorite characters, and the laughs and smiles of other children.

Bringing your child on rides with you might spark other conversations with children in line. They are both going on the same ride and probably both equally excited.

Let that excitement turn into a temporary friendship.

Children's shows can be another way to spend time with other kids. Your child will be around a lot of other children and will participate by watching the show.

She will observe the show and see others like herself having fun.

Often, the actors of the show will pose for pictures.

Take your child to the photo area and ask if she would like her picture taken to remember the performance.

Don't push your child if she says no. Give her time to grow accustomed to being more social.

Visiting old friends and relatives can help, especially if they have similarly aged children.

Let them play and you will often see an interaction develop in a short time. Once that happens suggest going to a local park together, where they may meet other neighborhood children.

Monitor your child, but also keep your distance. Allow your child to feel in control and never pressure him.

If you see your child is uncomfortable, let him make the decision to come over to you. 

Most importantly, receive feedback and discuss each activity.

Ask about the child she met, talked to, and played with.

Give supportive feedback by saying things such as:

“Wow, when you were hanging out and playing with Ashton you seemed to really enjoy that!”

“You did a great job making new friends today!”

“Wasn't it exciting seeing that show and meeting those new friends?”

Remind your child about all of the positive interactions she has had with others. Many children want and need validation.

Tell your child how happy you are that she had a great time. Never push, never punish (for being shy), and allow your child to blossom.

If, however, you sense that your child's shyness is severe or interfering with her daily functioning, a visit with your doctor may help to pin down the source of the problem and any potential ways of addressing the issue.

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