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How do I get my 4 year old to be less socially withdrawn?

My oldest son is 4 1/2 years old. He's a pretty anxious kids (like I was) and he's very shy around other kids! I signed him up for soccer tykes and he would try for 5 minutes and then come to me crying. When I take him to the park he doesn't play with any of the kids, actually what he will do as a defense is play with his imaginary friends, so not to knock his imagination (because he has an unbelieveable one) I just tell him why don't we play with our real friends and we'll play with our imaginary ones later. How do I make him more comfortable to play with other kids. It breaks my heart to see him so anxious. And it would be one thing if he just preferred to play alone but it seems like he wants to play with others but doesn't have the confindence to go for it... Also, with his anxiety...He thinks of something that scares him and freaks himself out so bad, he will not be in a room by himself, he follows us around the house all day and night. He gets afraid a lot of things when he simply doesn't like the way it looks (a picture in a book, or a doll) He is very sensitive and kind which I love but I don't want him to be nervous all the time. Any suggestions?

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mlmsm928

Asked by mlmsm928 at 9:06 AM on May. 6, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 17 (4,297 Credits)
Answers (3)
  • I would think that he needs a little self confidence. He needs to know he's a strong boy and can make good decisions. I would start at home on a daily basis, letting him make decisions and then praising him for his good choices. little things like his clothing for the day, then his meal choices. Whenever you guys do things, ask him first " would you like to do A. or B. and then tell him what a good choice he made. then maybe I'd start caretaking with an animal. Let him feed the cat or dog, or give the dog a daily treat or walk. When he is confident in what he can do and what his choices are he may feel confident enough to approach other children. GL
    jewjewbee

    Answer by jewjewbee at 9:35 AM on May. 6, 2011

  • Take him to the park with other children. When I was a single mom, I would take my child to a playground full of children. Then if he didn’t want to play I would say ok then I’ll go play. The other children would soon be interested in this adult coming to play in their world and we would make a game or look at a cool bug or something. My son would become very interested in what he was missing out on, he would then come over and join in. sometimes we would go to a park with a kick ball and start playing just him and I, and then we would ask intrigued children if they would like to play too. Eventually when we go to a park he would just run up to kids and just start playing with them. He surprises me on how relaxed he is to meet new friends. I would say as much as you would like your child to interact with other children, don’t push him too hard.
    t4turtle

    Answer by t4turtle at 12:13 PM on May. 6, 2011

  • Have you tried play groups, library's storyhour, etc? My niece's child is like this and it has been a slow process of taking part in group activities and letting the child join on her own time - not pushing her to. She is 7 now and doing pretty well.
    whitepeppers

    Answer by whitepeppers at 1:34 PM on May. 6, 2011

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