If only your lit­tle one wasn’t at­tached to your hip ev­ery time you at­tended a gather­ing! DR RICHARD C. WOOLF­SON shares how you can help your shy child.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

Learn how you can help your shy tot, so she won’t be at­tached to your hip ev­ery time you at­tended a gather­ing.

Your tod­dler is such a “sticker” and only wants you.

Some­times, you wish you didn’t have to take her to fam­ily cel­e­bra­tions be­cause she re­fuses to be held by any­one else – some­times not even her dad. She also cries her heart out when­ever wellmean­ing rel­a­tives come up to greet her.

It’s not easy manag­ing fes­tive cel­e­bra­tions when there are so many peo­ple around. You want to catch up with rel­a­tives and want her to so­cialise with the other kids, but it seems im­pos­si­ble.

Here are sug­ges­tions to help you break free:

Look who’s here

If you know your two-year-old usu­ally clings to you at those sea­sonal gath­er­ings, help build her so­cial re­silience.

Grad­u­ally get her used to cel­e­bra­tions by invit­ing a friend to your house. Then in­vite two or three of your friends over at once, and so on. The more she gets used to be­ing in the com­pany of other peo­ple, the less likely it is that she’ll cling to you.

Have a chat

Tell your child a day be­fore the fam­ily event that she’ll soon meet her cousins, aunts and un­cles. Talk about it pos­i­tively. Ex­plain that she’ll have fun and that they would be so pleased to see her.

Point out that you will be with her, so she has no need to be afraid. Re­as­sure her that the peo­ple whom she is go­ing to meet are kind and car­ing. Re­mind her on the day it­self.

Stay calm

Most two-yearolds ex­pe­ri­ence shy­ness at times when meet­ing to­tal strangers, so your tod­dler’s be­hav­iour is nor­mal.

Don’t blame her – or your­self – and try not to be an­gry with her. If you get an­noyed be­cause she won’t leave you for a sec­ond, she’ll only cling on even harder. Your loss of tem­per will make her want to stay by your side even more.

In­stead, keep calm and re­as­sure her once again that she is per­fectly safe, and she’ll en­joy mix­ing with the oth­ers there.

One at a time

She’ll prob­a­bly feel over­whelmed if she meets many peo­ple all at once, so try to “stream” those in­tro­duc­tions. In other words, don’t ex­pect her to greet her grand­par­ents, aunts, un­cles, and cousins al­to­gether, or in quick suc­ces­sion.

In­stead, in­tro­duce her to them one or two at a time, so she can grad­u­ally build up her con­fi­dence. Once both of you have spent a few min­utes with the first per­son, move to an­other part of the room to chat with some­one else.

Per­sist with your plan

If your tod­dler still sticks to you no mat­ter how well you’ve pre­pared her, set lim­its. For in­stance, you can let her stand be­side you, or al­low her to hold your hand while you chat with oth­ers.

But avoid the trap of pick­ing her up as soon as she starts to re­sist, or you’ll end up hold­ing her for the en­tire oc­ca­sion.

The more fes­tive cel­e­bra­tions she at­tends, the more she’ll be ac­cus­tomed to them.

Praise and per­se­vere

Don’t give in to her clingi­ness at these events; en­cour­age her so­cial re­silience, even if she is still hes­i­tant. The more fes­tive cel­e­bra­tions she at­tends, the more she’ll be ac­cus­tomed to them.

Give her lots of cud­dles and praise when she even­tu­ally meets new peo­ple with­out mak­ing a fuss.

Your en­cour­age­ment makes her feel good about her­self, and she’ll try even harder the next time.

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