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Tips to help give 3yo more confidence in a group setting?

(5 Posts)

That's it really. I had a consultation with DD1's key worker at nursery this morning.......DD is getting on fine but tends to be shy/quiet in a group setting. She hides her face if she's asked a direct question and doesn't volunteer any participation. Her key worker has ascertained that she does know the answers to questions posed, she's just shy about giving them in front of the group.

I've always taken her to toddler groups and stay and play sessions (and still do), always give her plenty of praise and am careful about criticism etc etc.

I was painfully shy as a child, and am still pretty shy and quiet now as an adult. I was really hoping not to pass it on to my DC as it really made my life quite miserable. Mine was/is essentially down to low self esteem I think. I just pray that hers isn't sad She is 3.3 and has only been in the pre-school class for 2 months.....I'm hoping she's just going through a period of adjustment and the confidence will come.

Does anyone have any tips or a book you could recommend? Thanks.

WriterofDreams Fri 17-Jun-11 15:39:03

I know it's easy for me to say but I think you shouldn't worry for the time being. 3.3 is still very young and shyness is very very common at that age. For a lot of kids that young a group setting can lead to sort of sensory overload so that they don't really feel able to participate. They sort of "freeze" when called on because they're so aware of everyone looking and they're trying to think of what to say at the same time. It's a lot for a little brain to deal with.

I doubt she has low self esteem at such a young age. My worry would be that if you make too big a deal of it that it might become a self esteem issue as she might think she's failing somehow for not participating. I would say continue to encourage her in groups but if she resists give her one prompt - literally start the answer for her as though you're going to answer while giving eye contact to encourage her to join in - and then if that doesn't work let it go. Don't labour it. Give her plenty of different opportunities to participate with no pressure and "scaffold" her gently with prompts. Over time hopefully she'll start to get a bit clearer on how to handle the situation and her ability to do it on her own will grow. Dealing with groups is a skill that needs to be taught, just like riding a bike. Baby steps. She's only been dealing with the preschool situation for 2 months so it's bound to be a bit overwhelming for her.

plipplops Fri 17-Jun-11 15:47:40

I don't have much to add but agree with everything Writerofdreams has said. If you're even slightly worried about her self confidence (even if it's from your childhood and there's no evidence with her), I think I'd just try and be really proactive with praising her and building her up, and the preschool thing will come. It's simple things like taking them to the same park/soft play lots of times so they learn how to do more each time and feel secure there (we have a really chavvy pub nearby with a great soft play that's often nearly empty, and I can't believe how well DD2, 2.5 manages there). Just baby steps, and don't try and force her (however gently) to speak up if she doesn't want to. She'll be much happier to get there in her own time.

Just one last thought - how does she get on with her key worker? If there's someone else there who your DD particularly likes, maybe it would be worth changing to them so there's someone properly keeping and eye out for her?

sorry to have disappeared for so long! Thanks for the replies.......really helpful advice and reassuring too.

She gets on fine with her key worker. She loved her previous key worker so much but now that she has moved rooms she hasn't been able to bring her along.

You're absolutely right in that I need to remember she's still so little and has so much more time to improve her confidence before she starts school.

griffalo2 Mon 20-Jun-11 10:07:22

My ds was the same at 3,
preschool put lots of pressure on him.would make him go without snack or drink if he didnt say and sign please,or totally ignore him altogether.then he was wetting and soiling himself because he wouldnt ask to go.
Instead of bringing him out he became worse,wouldnt play or talk to anybody.
Since starting school he is a totally different little boy.
Please,please put it to the back of your mind.
Does she have a friend there she could play with outside of playschool?
Could they try doing smaller group time with her with 2 or 3 others,talking about things shes interested in,or playing a game she likes?

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