“Hi, my name is Owen” He confidently extended his hand to a man that was more than twice his size.
That was my son, introducing himself to his dad’s co-worker. We were at a family picnic, sponsored by my husband’s employer. We talked to our kids before the event, making them aware that there was going to be a lot of people they didn’t know. We prepared them because we didn’t want them to feel scared or intimidated or hide behind Mommy or Daddy when someone wanted to meet them.
I understand that personalities will differ. I have four children, and I can tell you that within the same social situation, they all react differently. However, I desire for them all to be equipped to handle the most basic of all social interactions: the introduction and greeting.
Why should children learn how to introduce themselves?
It teaches them proper etiquette in conversations.
“Hello.” “Pleased to meet you.” A smile. A handshake. Eye contact. These seemingly trivial actions can determine if a conversation will continue or not. If I greeted someone and they barely lift their eyes from their smart phone and mumble an incoherent “Hey”, I’m likely to move on to the next conversation.
It gives them an opportunity to connect with others.
If you are a blogger, you know the importance of connecting with others. Though you may not have a future blogger in your hands, your child will discover the necessity and joy of interpersonal relationships. Most of those relationships begin with an introduction.
It gives them the confidence to speak to adults.
I remember explaining to one of my kids about talking to a trusted adult if ever they were lost, like at the grocery store. This child protested, “But, Mommy, I think I’m too shy.” There’s going to be times when you won’t be around to help your child, so they need to know how to talk to another adult if a certain situation requires it.
It develops their language and communication skills.
Before children even start uttering words and putting them into simple sentences, they are like sponges, soaking up the language that is happening around them. When they are young, they are usually not hindered by social fears. Get to them when they are ready and willing. Do some role play at home. To them, it may seem like a fun game, but more than that, it will benefit their language development.
What has worked for you in training your child how to handle social interaction?
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