One of Zoe’s God father visited us yesterday along with Ate Agnes his wife. As they get excited for Zoe, the little man remains skittish and timid. He was a bit conscious that he even runs towards the kitchen to hide. Same thing goes when he attended the Sunday school yesterday, he just grabbed a toy for himself and play beside me and when other toddlers approach him he would cling to me. And to me it’s a sudden bout of shyness. My son is a little intimidated with unfamiliar people. I guess it’s about time to teach him how to socialize with others.
For the past two years, we have focused in developing his physical skills. Now that he’s able to walk and play independently it’s about time to connect the little man with other people. As parent, raising well mannered – sociable children is a challenge especially if you are dealing on it for the first time.
So how do I start teaching the little man how to socialize? With a few insights from other moms and a little research I am trying to develop my son’s social skills by practicing the following.
- Letting him loose. Most often than not, my son is just confined in the four corners of our walls. If he is not playing by himself, I or the yaya take turns in playing with him. Now, it’s about time to go out from his comfort zone. Recently, he has been visiting the play ground more often. Thanks to Angie’s initiative. He has a couple of friends down the neighborhood and although he get to single out one of them as his best buddy he is slowly learning how to make friends with others.
- Sharing. In an article I have read, kids between 2 to 3 years old tend to be self-centered. At this age they don’t have emotional maturity yet. And yes, there are couples of times where my son gets fiercely protective of his toys. When that happens, we encourage him to share his toys. It may take sometimes for a kid to understand this but as with other skills he will get to learn this in time. So don’t put too much pressure on your kid.
- Set a Play dates. To date, I have never done this, but thanks to his Granma who seldom take the little one on play dates with his cousins. As our toddlers grow, they get to be more interested with the world and the things around him. It will help develop their social skills if they are with someone (apart from parents) while exploring the world and the things around him. That will teach them the feeling of being with someone else.
- Engaging in Communication. Once he’s learned how to talk it would be easy for our child to express his needs and emotions. Initiate a conversation with your toddler that will teach him how to hold a proper conversation with others.
And on top of these, be a role model. If we, parents, continuously model these considerate behaviors, then most likely our kids will glimmer of it once he understood the importance of our behavior. Take it slowly. Toddlers are still unpredictable but as they evolve, sure they will learn.