How can I help shyer kids feel comfortable in social settings?

Michele Borba
Accept your child’s natural temperament. Don't try to change your introvert into a social butterfly.

Create a one-to-ten tension scale a child can use to express their fear level. One is no fear, while ten is maximum fear, and five is somewhere in the middle.

Emphasize prior success. Help your child recall previous times when things went really well.

Schedule warm up time. Some kids take longer to warm up in a social setting, so give your child time to settle in. 

Reinforce any social efforts. Praise any and every effort your child makes to be even a bit more social.

Practice skills with younger peers. Pairing older kids with younger children for brief periods is a proven way to help the older child try out new social skills that he may feel uncomfortable about with friends his own age.

Make One-to-One Playdates. Research finds that one of the best ways to help shyer kids gain social confidence is with “one-on-one play dates.”

Reinforce smiling! One of the most common traits of confident, well-liked kids is that they smile and smile.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.