The “Shy” party child may seem an unusual topic for a blog post and unlike my other posts doesn’t offer advice on the Children’s party world. Instead, it’s an observational post and I hope to offer a very simple view and explanation (hopefully coupled with some tips) for the child who just doesn’t like to party.
Unlike the current world I live in, I was once a child who HATED children’s parties. I would not attend them, I would avoid them completely and if I was “forced” to go along by my mother I would be sick or sit with her the whole time refusing to join in. In fact, one of my earliest memories was being made to go as a clown to a disco party for a boy in my class, I stood by the table at the side and wouldn’t join the party – needless to say, we left early.
So how does someone who hated going to parties become a children’s party host (and as my friends would say one of the most enthusiastic people ever)? I have no idea! I have no idea at all. I don’t know when or what changed in me but something did and the anxiety (which I realise it was) started to go and I began to enjoy social situations much more (granted I was around 12 when this first started to happen and I am sure it involved fancying some boys), but below is the observation of what I can only explain as my first steps.
A comment we often get fed back from our parties is “Wow, you really include all of the children – even the shy ones that never join in!” this is the best comment ever! When a child who is shy builds up enough courage to take part through something we did – AMAZING! How do we work to do this? What makes what we do have this effect?
One main thing I remember as a shy party child was that if I found someone who I could trust in a party or in a social environment I would feel better, also if I wasn’t forced to participate and if someone told me exactly when everything would be happening (mainly for me when my mum would be picking me up!) I would feel so much better. These are things I implement now and are great to bear in mind when you are hosting a party yourselves or if you are a parent with a child who is shy and hates parties. Here are my three steps:
Take the time to explain exactly how everything will go, what time you will be back or the party will be over, which games they can play and when they will have food. We as adults are still sometimes afraid of the unknown and as simple as it may seem a party for a shy child really can be the unknown.
Introduce them to someone who will take the time to offer them comfort and security if you have to leave or ask the party parent if you can drop by the day before or meet them after school so your child knows who is at the party. (I had three friend’s parents that I really learnt to trust when I was in school which helped a lot!)
The biggest thing you can do (in my opinion) is NEVER tell a/your child or even say around them to others that they are shy. If we as adults were to tell ourselves every day that we are confident I believe eventually we would be confident, the same applies for a child. My mother told me I was fine and I had to get on with it and, well, eventually I did.
Never worry if your child doesn’t want to take part, never feel embarrassed if they cry when you go to leave – they will be brave and they will be fine, honestly take it from a “shy party child!”
We would love to hear your feedback or stories to share in our Comments below, from your own experience(s) with your child/children or a party you have hosted.
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