Our 6 year old daughter is really bright and very friendly and outgoing to those in her immediate family (parents, siblings, uncles and grandparents).

But when she is in social situations where she has to interact with those outside this well known circle she becomes very shy and introverted. If she is among those her age she will never go forward and introduce herself and try to make friends. If an adult tries to interact with her, like Dad's friend saying "Hi, how are you?",she will just look down and not even reply. If a waiter brings her a balloon in a restaurant she will not even say thank you.

I think part of the problem is we are currently home schooling her and so she doesn't get much exposure to people outside her home and close family members.

But when we do take her out, how can we give her the chance to interact? Do we point to people and tell her to go talk to them? Someone suggested for example telling her to ask the librarian for a book she likes. Is this the way to go or is there a better way?

2 Answers 2


My eldest daughter is a lot like yours. Shy and quiet around people she doesn't know but once she gets to know them, she's fine.

Your daughter need to feel comfortable in her surroundings and with the people there.

Don't point to people and tell her to talk to them. This is forcing her to do something she really doesn't want to do, otherwise she'd already do it. Instead, give her the opportunity to interact with Where I live there's soft play areas, messy play, community coffee mornings etc. Take your daughter several times, let her get used to the surroundings. Give her time to adapt and feel safe in those places. With time, she'll start interacting more.

If you do want to move it along faster, perhaps find some sort of club she can join. I have two daughters; one goes to gymnastics, the other a dance class. They're small groups and they often pair off. Not so much of a problem for the younger child but with the eldest, it takes a bit longer but she gets there.


My daughter who turns seven this week was exactly the same way. She still is, in really new situations. Homeschooling is nice for kids like her, because you can take it at her own pace, and be there to personally coach her, just like everything else.

The approach we took with my daughter was we didn't force her to do anything she wasn't ready for, but we didn't step in and handle things for her that only her shyness was keeping her from doing either. That last part is where a lot of parents go wrong, I think. If you step in, it reinforces the idea that the shyness is incapacitating, and doesn't provide an incentive to overcome the fear.

For your librarian example, my approach would be to say something like, "The librarian over there could help you find more books like that one we checked out last week that you really liked. Librarians are friendly and enjoy talking to kids. Maybe you should go ask her." Probably the first two or three times you say it, she will choose not to ask, but if she cares enough about the reward (getting a good book recommendation), and sees that you have confidence in her to ask, eventually that will overpower her fear.

Another thing that helps is having one good friend to act as an ice breaker. For my daughter, her brother often fills that role. If you're extroverted yourself, you may be trying to help your daughter play with lots of kids, but introverts generally prefer one-on-one interactions. Try to look for those sorts of opportunities.

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