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Old 08-24-2011, 08:46 PM   #1
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How do you encourage a 3yo to be a little more outgoing?

My little girl is very sweet and can be very friendly and nice once she gets to know people. She speaks very well for her age, and has no problems communicating.

However she tends to be a bit shy. For eg. When I take her out to the local library for story-time afterwards they do crafts, all the kids will run up to the front to get a piece of paper for coloring or whatnot. I'll tell her to go up and get one, but she will ask me to come with her or get it for her. I'll tell her to go and ask the lady for a pair of scissors, and she will whine and look down until I go with her.

She is the same when we go somewhere, if adults talk to her she looks down and might mutter something. She won't smile, look them in the eye etc. It's a little embarrassing as I feel it's rude, and I keep trying to tell her about manners, and before we go somewhere I always talk to her and practice what to say when somebody talks to you. I know it is personality, I was much the same as a kid and I have had to work hard to overcome my shyness, although I still feel awkward in social situations.

Is there anything I can do, or has anybody else successfully helped their child to come a little out of themselves?

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Old 08-24-2011, 08:59 PM   #2
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My little guy was just like this! He still is, sorta. Going to preschool, 2x a week for 3 hours, really changed his shynesd
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:03 PM   #3
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No advice but lots of hugs...I could have wrote this about dd2(she'll be 3 in Nov). She's been like this her whole life and I don't see it changing any time soon. As frustrating as it can be, I think it's just who is she is and I try to make her as comfortable as possible in those social situations.
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:34 PM   #4
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Re: How do you encourage a 3yo to be a little more outgoing?

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Originally Posted by redneckmama View Post
No advice but lots of hugs...I could have wrote this about dd2(she'll be 3 in Nov). She's been like this her whole life and I don't see it changing any time soon. As frustrating as it can be, I think it's just who is she is and I try to make her as comfortable as possible in those social situations.
It's funny you say that... now that i've had a second, I've seen how different she is. For example, the baby started smiling at people at 5 weeks and would smile at everybody and anybody, ALL the time. With my older daughter, she started smiling around 6 weeks but it was very hard to get her to crack a smile, she was always very intense, more just taking it all in. My 18 mo now will go up to people and say 'Hello lady, how are you?' LOL. My older daughter was capable of that, but just would never have done it! Even now, she hates it when everybody looks at her and gets mad, she just responds in a really strange way, even if it is just our extended family and people she knows, she hates people singing happy birthday to her etc. I feel bad for her, I do want to help her and make her feel more comfortable so that is why I try to encourage her beforehand to smile and look at people's eyes and talk loudly, and practice what she would say if somebody asked her 'How are you?'.
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Old 08-25-2011, 05:23 AM   #5
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Re: How do you encourage a 3yo to be a little more outgoing?

Playgroups! Some kids are just shy. My dd is, I understand how you feel about feeling like its rude, but if its her personality she will always be shy. I was and still am. All recommendations that I found said not to push it, just give her regular opportunities to interact with others. It took 2 years of regular weekly playgroups, twice monthly book clubs and multiple classes at the Y before dd would not stick right by my side (in the beginning she wouldn't even get off my lap). She used to look away- she didn't even mumble, just acted invisible if someone tried to talk to her. I can know take her to a playgroup or whatever and she immediately finds a toy or a person to play with- most days, some days she still just doesn't want to. She still doesn't really speak to people in stores either. And I don't push her too or comment on it. I will repeat the person's questions and sometimes she uses some weird voice to answer or she just makes a noise. I then smile at the person and shrug. They usually laugh and are not offended.

I use to get really embarrassed because I felt it was rude. I would try to get her to speak and tell her it was rude not to answer someone. But then I remembered how I felt when I was at my shyest. That kind of stuff didn't help, it probably made it worse- not that making excuses for her is better, but at least I know it reduces some of the stress on her. And if you've never been really shy- it is stressful to have to speak to people. Our plan is continue to encourage her and eventually she will loosen up.
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Old 08-25-2011, 05:37 AM   #6
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Re: How do you encourage a 3yo to be a little more outgoing?

I think a lot of it is just personality. I was a shy kid, some kids just are.

My niece was a lot like your daughter. Starting preschool, and then dance class, did a LOT for her confidence. Especially dance class. Maybe get her enrolled on something that is "hers"? It's wonderful how passionate she is about dancing, and she's a leader in class. She loves performing. You would never have thought she'd be excited to go up on stage, or that other girls would watch her to see what they should be doing.

My niece is now 5, and has really opened up a lot. She's very smart, but I have a feeling she'll still be pretty shy in school. I was, too. You can still be confident in other ways, though.
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