Tod­dler Q&A

Your Baby & Toddler - - Contents -

Q: My three year old is a very shy and sen­si­tive lit­tle per­son who does not make friends eas­ily. She will be start­ing playschool next year and I am feel­ing anx­ious about it. I’m wor­ried she will be bul­lied. Is there any­thing pre­ven­ta­tive we can start to ex­er­cise now to get her to be a lit­tle more ro­bust, so to speak? And how will I know if she is be­ing bul­lied?


Ali­cia says: Whether a child is in­tro­verted or ex­tro­verted, start­ing playschool marks a change in their lives. There are ex­ter­nal and in­ter­nal strate­gies you can im­ple­ment to help your child eas­ily tran­si­tion to playschool. Help make it an easy change.

With per­mis­sion, take your child to the playschool a few times be­fore the new school year be­gins. Fa­mil­iarise your child with the class­room and play area, as­so­ci­at­ing these ar­eas with fun!

If pos­si­ble, in­tro­duce your child to next year’s teacher, help­ing build a re­la­tion­ship of trust to fa­cil­i­tate a seam­less tran­si­tion later.

Like­wise, in­tro­duce your child to chil­dren her age at the playschool— ask par­ents for play dates, grad­u­ally in­creas­ing the num­ber of chil­dren she ‘knows’ so that your child can get used to sev­eral dif­fer­ent chil­dren, build­ing up the ca­pac­ity to cope with the group, giv­ing your child a bet­ter chance to ad­just to be­ing in a room with lots of peo­ple, many of whom are now fa­mil­iar.

Help­ing your child process emo­tions and cre­at­ing an in­ter­nal men­tal struc­ture of feel­ing strong can go a long way in boost­ing your child’s con­fi­dence and so­cial skills.

Your sup­port em­pow­ers your child. Ex­press your love and be there to help.

Lis­ten care­fully. Show that you ac­cept your child as they are, help­ing them to ac­cept them­selves. Give them the mes­sage that it’s okay to be who they are, by re­fram­ing the be­havioural re­sponse from ‘you are shy’ to ‘you are be­hav­ing shyly.’

Re­move the la­bel, and the child can feel their var­i­ous emo­tions with­out hav­ing to be their emo­tions.

Role­play­ing is also a way to pro­vide your child with knowl­edge of how to act in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions, such as chil­dren play­ing to­gether and shar­ing. Keep it light and prac­tice dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios with your child (such as if some­one takes their toy, go tell the teacher) so they are bet­ter pre­pared for en­coun­ters. This can also teach them what is healthy re­spect­ful be­hav­iour to them and to their friends, and what isn’t.

Have faith in your child. Life has chal­lenges for in­di­vid­u­als and we all must deal with them.

Con­tinue to pro­vide a se­cure foun­da­tion of love and do your best as a par­ent to sup­port them. Let them find their own way, keep­ing an eye on their progress to en­sure that they are happy and safe.

Signs that your child may be be­ing bul­lied: • Fre­quent com­plaints of stom­ach aches and headaches • Not want­ing to go to school • Shows trou­ble eat­ing and sleep­ing • Starts mak­ing self-dep­re­cat­ing com­ments such as “I am stupid”; “No one likes me.” • Changes friends or avoids cer­tain chil­dren with whom they were friends • They speak about eat­ing alone at playschool or not be­ing able to play • Cry­ing spells or over-emo­tional re­ac­tions to in­ci­dents at home • Ob­ses­sion with or with­drawal from de­vices such as cell­phone, ipad, tele­vi­sion, games (Plays­ta­tion) • Torn cloth­ing or phys­i­cal marks. YB

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