9 answers

How to Encourage My Child to Be More Social and Active?

My 4 year old daughter loves ballet but she is not participating in the classroom unless I sit next to her and dance with her. She does not adapt to new environments nor make new friends easily. She is very shy. Many times I saw her sitting alone in her pre-k class doing nothing. Do you have any advice?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you. I took up your advice and left her alone in the ballet class -- she cried too much during class. Next class, I came to class to encourage her; but, I told her I had to go to the bathroom and will be back. I think this "tactic" worked because I saw her danced (well, partly was looking to see if I am back). She is a good dancer (I saw her through the window) and I am very proud of her. I think she needed me to stay to feel the safety net I provided. In addition, her confidence level may not be good since she is bilingual (Mandarin - English) -- her English is not too good yet. And, she hates rejections from other kids.

I think it will get better as I keep leaving the classroom a bit longer at a time --

Thank you again for all your help.

Featured Answers

To a degree, this may be the kind of person she is. However it is good to keep involving her with activities and other kids.

I do agree with the mom who said not to stay in class with her. She needs to learn that she can do it on her own.

More Answers

My kids pre-school teachers always recommended car pooling for activities when ever possible. It gives them someone to connect with and makes joining the larger group easier. It might not work out for this ballet class, but think about it as she starts school and other activities.

To a degree, this may be the kind of person she is. However it is good to keep involving her with activities and other kids.

I do agree with the mom who said not to stay in class with her. She needs to learn that she can do it on her own.

I have a 4 1/2 year daughter who is very shy. I had the same problem with her for ballet class last year. She cries every time I leave the ballet class. But things get better with age. I stopped her class for a few months and started it again recently since she seems to be more interested in the class. She is doing much better. She is happier in the class and doesn't require my company anymore. Generally she opens up more as she grows up. Now she replys to people when spoken to. Before she won't say anything or even look at people talking to her. But still she is shy in class. She generally makes friend with quieter person in the class. Well, I find play dates helps a lot especially one to one play dates. I normally have one playdate with one of her classmate arranged for her during weekend. She is pretty active and social on playdate. Talking to teacher will help too. I asked the teacher to call on her a bit more during the class so she gets a chance to speak in the class. I also try to encourage her to raise hand to participate in class. Praise her when she tells me she did it.

I know this may sound like an odd question, but does your daughter speak to others outside of her immediate family and very close friends? The reason I ask is because my daughter was very shy and didn't easily participate in things when she was a toddler/preschooler and she was later diagnosed with Selective Mutism (selectively not speaking in certain situations). She is 10 now and speaks with everyone is very outgoing. Just thought I'd mention it!!!

I recommend one on one play dates with kids in the class. This help so much.

You might check out http://www.hsperson.com/pages/child.htm too. Both of my children fall into this temperament, and it's been very helpful.

As a shy person with two children (one of whom is much shyer than the other), I've found that meeting up with a few other families with kids at a park can be a nice 'transitional playdate' for kids and parents alike - I've noticed my kids think it's neat when they see classmates somewhere other than school. And since you'll be with her, she'll have that security, and since people stay as long as they can the logistics are a bit easier than a drop-off-at-someone's-house kind of playdate.


Two things:
1. I would talk to her pre-k teacher and see what she thinks.
2. I would not stay in ballet class. You are enabling her to be shy.

I have a daughter that was the same way. She would only act this way when I was around. When she thought that I wasn't there, she was fine. Also, as a swim teacher, it makes it harder for me if the parents stick around because the children perform for them and not for me. They are much better swimmers when mommy is not near the pool.


Do you have any friends in your social circle with young kids who she could play with? Play dates are great because she can get to know other kids while you are there with her. She just needs a little confidence building and helping her meet friends through your social circle or play groups from her school mates might help. Good luck.. T.

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