Saturday, April 5, 2014

Helping Kids with Social Anxiety: Giving Them a Role

Some people thrive in a social setting.  They love the people, the celebrations, and joy of interacting with others.  Other people prefer to stick to themselves, and may have a very difficult time in social settings.  When they do want or need to be in a group, they may feel nervous, stressed, and drained.  

I recently had to take my 8 year old son to church with me when I got to lead a prayer service.  There was no where else for him to hang out on that night.  I ended up asking him to be my helper with the "technology" and the music.  I had my ipod and wanted to hook it into the sound system with specific songs playing at specific times.  

This turned out to be a wonderful thing, because I really did benefit from his help with the songs, and he felt very proud and excited that he could contribute.  He did really well in the social setting, even though that would generally be quite a challenge for him if we just showed up and he didn't have a specific role. 

When your kids are going into a crowd, try to think of ways to make roles specific if they like that.  Can they be a helper?  Maybe they can be in charge of opening the door and putting peoples' coats in the "coat room."  Maybe they can help with props for a play rather than being on stage.  Maybe they can help hide the Easter eggs or hand out the Halloween candy.

What have you tried that helps your kids negotiate crowds and parties?