Is your kid feeling extra nervous, extra clingy, next level melting down in new situations or small social gatherings? A friendly neighbor saying hi, going to Grandma's house, going back to school? Shoot, my girl was even terrified melting down over a new slide she wanted to try but was too nervous to go down.
Maybe your child has always been the nervous/shy type, or maybe COVID has brought on a totally new nervous/scared/shy side to your normally outgoing kid.
Listen, we all want outgoing, social, brave kids. We've seen them laugh and play with kids before, and we KNOW they can do it! But not all kids feel comfortable in social situations right away, especially if it's been a while since they've been in social situations. Sometimes, it takes them a moment to get comfortable - and THAT'S OK.
Real talk: it takes us a while to get comfortable in new/social situations as adults too.
So, when your kid is in a new situation, or a social situation, and is clinging to you, or crying or whining, it can be REALLY tempting to push them into the situation. As an adult, we can objectively see: "this IS NO BIG DEAL, we do this all the time! Nothing is even happening; you're going to love it!!!!!!"
But when we pressure them to get in there and play sooner than they're ready to, they'll only end up feeling MORE overwhelmed and MORE nervous. They’ll cling to your leg even harder and longer.
So instead, to get your kid over the nervous hump, and into confident mode: Let them feel exactly how they feel - without pushing them- and assure them that they have our support. In doing this, we increase their comfort level a million times over. And with that comfort, comes the confidence to get out there and play, to get out there and do the new thing.
Be their safe person. Be their homebase. Validate those feelings and encourage them to trust themselves.
Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.
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