While my daughter has always been outgoing, my son often struggles with a bit of shyness. He isn’t extremely shy, he just takes a little longer to warm up to new people and social situations. His struggles have made me notice how many other kids show up at birthday parties a bit unsure of themselves and hesitant to participate. Having special activities at the party, such as a bouncing house, can be both exciting and a little bit scary for shy children. Here are some ways I have learned to help my son deal with it.
As a parent there are many things you should do to prepare your child before sending them to a party. Practice good manners with him by role-playing various situations such as gift giving and conversations with adults. Call the hosting parents to see if any of your child’s close friends will be attending, and to ask if there will be special games, such as an obstacle course rental, that you should prepare your child for. Ask if you can stay at the party for awhile, and model strong behavior while you are there. If there is a time when adults are allowed to jump in the bounce house, make sure you model adventurous behavior by giving it a try. You may have fun, and your child will see that it is a safe activity.
If you are hosting a party, you should take a moment to recognize any children who are hanging on the sidelines of the activities, and gently encourage them to join in the festivities. Jumpers in Orange County are a popular activity at birthday parties, but they may be too intimidating when a shy child first arrives. When you notice a child interested in the inflatables, perhaps encourage him to go down the bounce slide with a friend he trusts before throwing him into the heart of the activity. Also, learn to respect that there is nothing wrong with low-energy or shy children. They may be enjoying the party, in their own way.
Shy children often want to participate in parties and special events, but they have a difficult time overcoming their anxieties. With a little support from their parents, and other trusted adults, they can learn to engage and have a great time at parties they attend.