Shy kids might need an extra nudge to participate in activities.
It may be hard to believe in today's crazy-busy, overscheduled family life, but not every youngster participates in activities outside the home. If your little one is reluctant to get involved, you might have to do a little extra selling to get her engaged in physical or social activities. Don't force her into something she hates, but don't give up too easily, either; the social interaction is good for young children. And face it, you're looking forward to a little me time. So find an activity she'll enjoy, talk it up, and get ready to join the ranks of dance and soccer moms.
1Research what activities are available in your area that might be fun and appropriate for your child. Taking into account your little one's age, interests and stage of development, identify a few that you think would be good choices for her. Consider recreational sports with a fun, low-stress emphasis for a child needing physical activity, or a cooking or arts-and-crafts class for youngsters who like to make stuff or who need to work on fine motor skill development.
2Talk to your child about the activities you've identified. Make the opportunity to participate sound like a fun, exciting thing to do, rather than something you're making her do or an obligation to make you happy. Giving her several options to choose from lets her feel like she's part of the decision-making process and gives her some ownership of both the decision and the activity she chooses. And remember, just because you always wanted to be a ballerina doesn't mean ballet is the best option for your little one -- offer activities in which she's demonstrated some interest.
3Overcome her reluctance by highlighting an element of the activity that will appeal to her. Want her to play peewee soccer? Tell her she gets a cool team T-shirt and you'll buy her pink shin guards -- and the team gets yummy snacks after every game. One of the best ways to get her interested is to sign her up for an activity with a friend. At this age, having a friend involved gives little ones the reassurance of a familiar face to help overcome fears of trying something new. Maybe you can go with her the first time or two to minimize her discomfort.
4Talk to her if she continues to resist your efforts. Ask her why she doesn't want to participate. Maybe she's scared that she won't know anybody or that she might get hurt. And even little ones can be worried they won't "be good enough" at an activity or sport -- remember how you always hated the basketball unit in gym class because you knew you couldn't make a basket if your life depended on it? If she really doesn't want to do any of the activities you've suggested, ask her what she thinks she might enjoy, or suggest a class or program you could do together.