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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Be patient

30-05-2008 10:56:15 AM

MY four-year-old daughter is an introvert. I notice she has problems making friends with other children.

She refuses to go to kindergarten. I have tried sending her to two different kindergartens and a social development class.

They were all futile attempts because she cried and was unco-operative, even though the teachers and kids were nice to her.

Two weeks ago, I sent her to a kindergarten which is within walking distance from our house. I thought she might feel more confident as home is just around the corner. But I was mistaken. After three days, she started crying and shouting. She refused to go to school.

I do not know how to encourage her to join a preschool and mix with other children. I would like her to be more sociable. When I take her to the playground, especially to the slide which she loves most, she will wait until all the other kids have left. Only then will she play on the slide. When other kids come over to join in, she would stop playing and stand by the corner quietly.

I am concerned about this negative behaviour that I see in her.

How do I encourage my daughter to socialise with other children? How do I influence her to love going to school? –

Concerned Mother

Parents worry when their children do not behave as expected. If the parents are extroverts, they may feel uneasy about their children's introvert behaviour. They do not understand why their children prefer to play alone and struggle to remain in groups.

Being shy is hardly a weakness in a child. Your daughter needs more time and patience to adjust in a group.

She may be more observant and cautious in a social setting. When a child is an introvert, she is turned off by large groups and prefers one-to-one contact. This does not mean that she will not learn to participate in group play. You can help her get used to being with other people by having her play with one child at a time.

Before sending her to kindergarten, survey the possibility of setting up play dates with children from her class.

Introverts tend to internalise their thoughts and intentions more than extroverts. They can be imaginative and have stimulating ideas. Unlike their extroverted peers, they don’t blurt out everything; they tend to share their ideas when the time is right for them. They are not anti-social.

To encourage your child to socialise, you must first respect and understand her need for time alone. She will not be the live wire of the group but her quiet nature can have a calming effect on others. Your good intentions can backfire if you constantly push her to play with others.

Accept her behaviour when she stands on the sideline and watch others play. She feels better when she knows you support her unconditionally.

Later when you are alone with her, ask her about her observations. The more she shares with you her findings, the more familiar she gets with the art of socialising.

She will know what are the expectations in a group and how she should behave to be accepted. This will help her to gain courage to join others at the next playground visit. Many four-year-olds find it difficult to transition from home to school. They worry about being away from home and having to deal with strangers.

They are afraid that they may never see their mum and dad again when they are away in school. They have to overcome this fear before they can be happy in school. Before enrolling in a school, take your daughter for a few visits. Let her indicate her readiness before you sign up. Do not be in a hurry to enrol her. Her perception is different from yours. Let her feel secure first before you send her off to school.

Courtesy : RUTH LIEW - mSTAR Online

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