My 3 years old is a bit on the shy side, but nothing alarming. She manages to play with friends and interact with adults.

She has been at the nursery school since she was 1 year old, and we only heard good feedback from the care givers.

So, all good, except when there are group activities, i.e. activities for kids led by an adult. For example, children in circle doing some simple dance demonstrated by the adult. Every time she has been in such a situation (at school, or other places), while all the other kids her age were participating (with more or less involvement, as 3 yo do), our daughter refused strongly to participate. She would sit and look at what is going on, and this will be it.

The activities done are of the kind she would happily engage to at home, when just with us.

There does not seem to be any stress, there is no fuss. Just, if we suggest (kindly) to join the fun, she would say 'no'.

I would be happy to hear any advice on how to help her going forward with this.

1 Answer 1


I had the same issue with my child and the key is not to put any pressure.

My nursery offers a parents' stay and play. I joined my son in nursery several times and joined in all the activities. This helped to encourage participation from his side.

If your nursery doesn't offers this I would suggest that you ask if you can join your child in the room as an exception? Having a parent there can be really reassuring.

The same applies to other activities outside nurseries where you can take your child to participate in group activities such as stay and plays, toddler groups, sports activities etc. If you join in your daughter is more likely to join in, too.

If you have a group of friends with similar aged children you could also arrange meet-ups in bigger groups with simple games like bubble popping, play catch, hide and seek etc. Try and encourage her to participate in group activities with other children she is familiar with.

Also, you should try to talk to your daughter and see if you can identify the issue. I know it's hard with a 3 yo but it might help shed light.

  • For the dance activity the teacher already allowed us to join, and we did participate.This did not help. Also, she plays nicely with other kids. Trying to do some more "fomal" activity with her friends sounds like a good idea.
    – Vince
    Oct 20, 2022 at 7:30
  • How about trying a reward chart? They help us a lot. Also, when my son doesn’t want to participate he shouts no!!! We made a joke out of this and all say: baby says no!! It makes him chuckle and prompts him to say yes instead. Any lighthearted approach could help
    – Bettina
    Oct 20, 2022 at 9:39

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