My child is shy and refuses to play with new kids.

My child won’t join anything and refuses to try to play with new kids- she is so shy and says it is too hard. But in life we have to approach other people.

If your child is shy then these joining and playing with others are hard for her. The big question is, what makes this hard? What makes her avoid trying new things and joining in. Ask the questions, because sometimes it is about the child not knowing what to do or how to join in. So this is where you come in, you will make a pact with your child and agree to try something out of your comfort zone and to work on something hard for you and she will work on this. She can pick any activity and she just has to show up. A good conversation to have is to use this comfort zone tool.

Comfort Zone: Cozy, Creative, Courageous

We all know how it feels to tackle something outside our comfort zone. Try this concept with a child is struggling to keep an open mind, has trouble with change, claims there is no problem, or just shows less buy-in than you wish.

Try the Comfort Zone, a low-stress way to engage

  1. Explain what a “comfort zone” is and what it means to when something is “outside your comfort zone.” Use examples from your own daily life—things you do or have done that easily in your comfort zone, toward the edge of your comfort zone and clearly outside it. For example, I was nervous to learn to ski but I tried it, and it felt uncomfortable at first. You can prompt your child by asking questions about this idea of being uncomfortable and stretching to get beyond it. “Remember when you went to a new soccer team and felt like you wanted to stay with the old one?” Explain that in order to change and grow, we all must be willing to lean into discomfort and engage in the process.
  2. On a piece of paper, have your child draw a large circle to represent his comfort zone. Leave a margin around the circle—that’s going to be the space for things outside his comfort zone.
  3. Ask him to jot inside it things he does that are inside his comfort zone. These might include joining in with younger kids, staying out of the lunchroom, sitting only with one safe friend, things he loves like Legos, going to grandparent’s house, the after school program he prefers, eating favorite foods, playing with the same people or in the same place.
  4. Then ask him to jot outside the circle some things that are outside his comfort zone. Let your child tell you what those are.
  5. If your child hasn’t already named specific social expectations or situations, then turn to a few of those your child has been working on and ask, “Would _____ be inside your comfort zone or outside your comfort zone?

Social Skills Deeper Dive

More actionable advice, exercises and videos can be found in the Store

How to Coach Your Child

How to Coach Your Child – Kids need good role models. Skills like listening and communication are critical. This exclusive program for parents teaches how to coach your kids for life.

Adults with ADHD Social Skills Training: How to Get Along with Everyone – 2-Part Seminar with Caroline Maguire

Rusty Social Skills Bundle – Everything you need to help students return to the classroom for the development of critical social skills.

Coaching Conversations Video Course – How to use the lessons in Why Will No One Play with Me? in everyday life using real people and real scenarios

From “Hi” to a Full Conversation – How to adapt conversation starters to initiate small talk.

Joining a group Infographic – Make joining a group less intimidating – and more fun!

Building a Conversation Infographic – Learn how to engage in reciprocal give-and-take

Steps for Joining a Group Video – Step by step details to comfortably and successfully join a group

How to Read the Room as an Adult – Managing perceptions and engaging successfully

Why Will No One Play with Me? 

How to SEL – HOW TO help children build social skills

How to Help the Socially Awkward Kid

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart