How can I help my preschooler overcome shyness outside of home?

shy childChildren are shy for different reasons. For some, it is a temperament issue. They are slow to warm up and take a long time to feel safe and comfortable in a place other than home. Some children struggle with anxiety, especially around unfamiliar people or places. Whatever the reason, their shyness needs to be honored and accepted. Generally, if the adults around them can be patient, understanding and encouraging, they can learn to master social skills.

Not all children learn social skills through osmosis. Some need to be taught, and it is best to start early. You can begin by arranging play dates for your child. Getting to know a friend outside of school will help make school feel more comfortable. Practice social skills at home. Set up role-playing situations and act them out: saying hello to a teacher, giving your order to a server in a restaurant, answering a question at school, talking with a clerk in a store. Make this into a game. Decide on an out-of-home practice, and give your child a point for each time she says hello or speaks up. When she doesn’t, let her know that she will when she is ready.

If this problem continues, and depending upon the age of your child, you could enroll her in a social skills group. Led by a trained psychotherapist, this is a great vehicle for developing social behavior.
(Article by: Jill Shugart, M.A., M.F.T./ Parent Connect)

Temper Tantrums, Defiance and Stubbornness in Toddlers and Preschoolers

PreschoolerDealing with your preschooler or toddler’s temper tantrums, power struggles, foot stomping, “NO!” yelling and other oh-so-charming behavior all the time these days? Ah yes, you’ve entered the stages of defiance and stubbornness. How will you get through the next few years of temper tantrums? Here’s how to deal!

A certain amount of negative, defiant behavior is totally normal. (We didn’t say it wasn’t still totally annoying!) But it’s part of the kid turf. So when your preschooler or toddler has temper tantrums once in a while, don’t freak out yourself. It’ll only make things worse, especially for you.

Don’t take it personally. If your toddler is responding to all questions lately with a bratty “No!”, know that this is not a personal attack on your authority. It’s just your kid’s new favorite word. (Try not to smile when she even blurts out “No!” to tempting treats and playdates for which you know she means “Yes”!) And try to limit your own “No” saying as well. Monkey see, Monkey do!

Don’t let on that her difficult behavior gets to you. Otherwise, she may continue the defiance because she knows it will reward her with more attention. Remember, letting them see you sweat out a preschooler or toddler temper tantrum just feeds into it.

Offer choices. Defiance and stubbornness are all about establishing independence, so when possible, offer your kid two choices. (That’s two not 12!) She’ll obtain some safe control (on your terms) and hopefully, you’ll avoid a blow up. However, if she refuses to choose from the options you’ve given her within a reasonable period of time, be prepared to make the decision for her.
(Source: Parents Connect)