I find it very hard to believe Riley will be going into first grade in just a matter of weeks. FIRST GRADE! That seems like … I don’t know, such a big kid grade. Like any minute now he’s going to bring home homework involving fractions and shit. And diorama assignments! And all my shoebox-and-math-related failures will sweep over me in a crushing wave of despair as I’m forced to confront every unpleasant elementary school memory I have so carefully repressed all these years!

So first grade, yeah. Meanwhile, I’m not entirely sure what to do about Dylan’s school this year. There’s a fantastically-rated Montessori preschool that’s just down the street and I’d hoped he could go there, but hurrrrrrrrrrngh $650/month for part time. Nearly every other preschool in our general area has a Christian-based curriculum, which I’m not interested in. I found a more affordable, decent-sounding preschool that’s not terribly far away, but it would involve picking Riley up at 2:50 then blasting across town to get Dylan at 3:15 and I guess it would be doable but again, hurrrrrrrrrrrrnnnngh.

My main school-related concern with Dylan is helping him get socialized. For such a bright, expressive, colorful-ass kid, he sure clams up around new people, to the point of coming across as downright rude. New adults, new kids, it doesn’t matter, he shuns them all. And, you know, I get it — I get being shy, and liking familiar routines, and taking a look at a teeming crowd of people and feeling that TILT circuit in my brain light up — but also manners, kid. I’ve been trying to work on that with him, how being shy is fine but you can’t just ignore someone who’s saying hi to you (for instance, the perfectly lovely teacher at the preschool we visited last week, whose every overture to Dylan was met with a sullen, head-shaking refusal to engage).

He was always very self-contained at his old preschool, never really made friends, didn’t actively participate in class very much. My hope is to find a school environment where he can open up a little … although perhaps this stage is similar to Riley’s sensitivities and only time will truly make a difference?

Even with the benefit of hindsight with Riley, though, I’m frustrated all over again by having a Childhood Issue to deal with and not being certain how to handle it. Yes, some kids are shy, but even a socially reluctant four-year-old shouldn’t get away with being an asshole, right? I don’t know, I would never force him to perform on command (”Tell the nice lady how old you are, Dylan! Now sing the ABC song! DANCE, MONKEY, DANCE!”), but I do expect a minimum level of politeness, you know?

And, of course, I’d like him to be able to have fun with other kids. I’ve seen him play with other kids before, but only when Riley was around to act as a sort of middle man.

Anyway, I’d love to hear from you on some of this stuff. Have you dealt with a shy kid before? How did you tackle the rude/unresponsive side of things, if that was a problem? Did preschool help?

Screen shot 2012-08-11 at 11.32.57 AM


83 Responses to “Michigan J. Frog”

  1. Pete on August 11th, 2012 11:44 am

    We put one of our into Montessori and you’re correct, they are butt ass expensive. The other went to a private home run by an ex-Montessori employee. They both had a great experience. Ours have since 8 weeks old been in some sort of day care so being shy was not an option for them. Now that they are in their teens they are pulling the shy stuff. I was shy so I don’t have any words of wisdom for them other than it only gets worse the longer you wait. (my experience).

  2. Pete on August 11th, 2012 11:45 am

    How are the bugs up there?

  3. Brooke on August 11th, 2012 12:01 pm

    My almost-four year old daughter is so similar. I hesitate to call it shyness, though, and I’m not sure why. I call it independence – even within a daycare setting, she’s off to the side doing whatever it is that she wants to do rather than play with the rest of the kids. She’ll tell me that they are her friends, and engage within groups if she is told she must but… her preference is just to be on her own. Unless her older brother is involved, as you mentioned, and he can mediate when other kids are around, or she will play with him if it’s just the two of them. So, no, I’d say preschool/daycare hasn’t helped much. And yes, she comes off rude at times, and we haven’t yet really tried to change that much yet. Mostly because, I think, I enjoy her hesitation with strangers because her brother was the opposite – he would run away with a stranger if given the chance, as he was telling them his life story.

    I know, I’m no help. But I understand.

  4. NancyJ on August 11th, 2012 12:02 pm

    How about some sort of play group instead of preschool? I know you’re new to the area but there’s probably readers here who can point you in the right direction. It would be smaller than preschool, more cost effective and you can work on the social skills together.

  5. Clarabella on August 11th, 2012 12:06 pm

    When you mentioned the preschool on twitter the other day, I didn’t realize it was Montessori. Our local Montessori is also about that much for part-time, so that makes more sense to me now.
    When Dude was little, younger than Dylan, he refused to engage with other children for quite a while. (He never shied from adults, interestingly enough. The kid has never met a stranger; he’ll talk/flirt with any adult he meets anywhere, which presents an entire other problem when you’re trying to teach him “Don’t talk to strangers.” Sigh.) Anyway, I remember quite clearly a birthday party we had for him here at the house, his 3rd I think, and all the kiddies were in the living room playing with the majority of the toys I’d put there, and the birthday boy was back in his room BY HIMSELF banning the other kids if they tried to come in. When I tried to put a stop to that, all hell broke lose, & he spent quite a bit of his own party throwing a fit. But this was not an isolated incident. He spent a lot of play dates playing by himself. I don’t think he was shy necessarily; he just didn’t seem to have any interest in other kids. I scheduled a lot of play dates that summer, but what eventually socialized him WAS putting him in pre-school that fall.
    Honestly, I think you just do the best you can, and it’s frustrating a lot of the time, but a combination of growing out of it/socialization seemed to be the only thing that worked for us. Also, I know it’s cheesy, but I always have to remind myself “this too shall pass,” and it usually does. Thank god for “phases,” AMIRITE? (Now, it’s when one doesn’t seem to “pass” that I have to worry about.)

  6. Ang on August 11th, 2012 12:07 pm

    Double check the Christian based preschools – my kids went to a Methodist one and the extent of the Christian part was the “god is good, let us thank him for our food” thing before snack.

    As far as shy, maybe practicing a bit? A little pretending that you’re going to meet someone new – and what do you say?

    I’ve got a 6th grader starting in a couple of weeks – who informed her breasts are growing yesterday – ack!

  7. Jess on August 11th, 2012 12:11 pm

    We’re doing a Christian based preschool, and it’s much cheaper than our Montessori school too.. I’m not big on the christian aspect, (actually, I really despise it, I have evangelical parents) especially since Evelyn came home saying how great-grandma died on the cross, everyone dies on the cross now, and it’s absolutely irritating. BUT she is getting a great education otherwise. She was writing her name by the end of PK3, and she’s started to read words going into PK4. The teacher is absolutely fantastic, and the social aspect is great. Otherwise we do an in-home daycare for the other days and Jenni is awesome, but Evelyn only sees 1-2 other kids during the day.

  8. Emily on August 11th, 2012 12:27 pm

    My almost 5 year old daughter is exactly the same, burying her head between my legs whenever we meet new people. How is he when he knows someone? Because once my daughter can get past the initial meeting, however, she DOES NOT SHUT UP.

  9. Lisa on August 11th, 2012 12:50 pm

    I’m with Ang on investigating the Christian based pre-school a little more. I don’t know where you stand on this but if you are at a bare minimum of believing and wanting/allowing your children to believe in God as well as learning some bible stories along the way, then you can’t go wrong. Most of these curriculums don’t brainwash your kids at this point. (Maybe later…j/k) I’m a bit biased as all 3 of my kids are enrolled in a catholic school, but I am speaking simply from their experience as well as non-catholic friends who enrolled their kids in the pre-school program there.

    Also…time changes everything. It stinks, but he’ll eventually get it. Just keep doing what you’re doing!

  10. Rhea on August 11th, 2012 12:54 pm

    As an introvert and the mother of a 13 year old introvert, I say embrace it. It’s not a matter of being shy, so much as taking time to get used to a new situation. My son was the one in his 3 year old KinderMusik class who NEVER ONCE participated. I thought it was so rude of him(!) and it wasn’t til the teacher explained that he is still absorbing the lesson, there is NOTHING to be upset about. Personally, I still to this day to not jump into a new situation (say a new job) and do a song and dance to shout “look at me”. Sounds like you have a little introvert on your hands. Don’t force the socialization. He’s social, just takes a bit to take it all in. I recommend reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Great book!

    Good luck with your decision.

  11. Aunt Linda on August 11th, 2012 12:58 pm

    Your mom was shy, I was shy, you were shy. Dylan doesn’t stand a chance unless JB’s family were a bunch of stand-up comedians. As to rude … I can’t imagine such a thing! Adults should ask him better questions. Of course, I may be biased on this issue.

  12. Robin J. on August 11th, 2012 1:09 pm

    My now 8-year-old son was very similar. Every teacher he’s ever had takes some credit for his ‘coming out of his shell’, because a few weeks/months in, he becomes interactive, cheerful, etc. (Not in every situation. He still speaks with horror of the month he spent in an awesome day camp in Honolulu.) Sometimes it drove me crazy, sometimes I found good-parent workarounds. In terms of politeness, I’d suggest telling him he has to choose between saying hi, waving, shaking hands, bowing… something to acknowledge the other person, even if it is paired with clinging to his mom’s leg. Sometimes speaking is the hardest part!

  13. Meagan on August 11th, 2012 1:41 pm

    I would relax about the shy thing. Pushing him will only make him more anxious or turn it into a power struggle. Let him be, if you back off he’ll open up on his own time.

  14. Amanda on August 11th, 2012 1:55 pm

    Check out the Christian schools! Our family is not religious at all, but my kids had a fantastic educational experience at a Lutheran pre-school. By the end of pre-k, they had already covered the entire Kinder curriculum (which did cause some probs too). They will learn some Bible stories and prayers, but the lessons just focus mostly on kindness, respect, tolerance, etc. It will also bring up “what our family believes” conversations (like science!). Good luck!

  15. Christen on August 11th, 2012 2:03 pm

    As a reformed Shy Kid (I wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone outside our immediate family and would fly into my mom’s arms if a man dared speak to me – luckily I outgrew that heh) I definitely agree that modeling/enforcing good manners but letting him come around on his own will ease the pain for all of you. Maybe letting him know that you get shy too, but you still return greetings/basic pleasantries with people and it’s fine will help him feel less anxious?

  16. Stephanie on August 11th, 2012 2:15 pm

    I think the whole concept of socialization is highly overrated. Seriously, don’t worry about it. Take him out into the world with you (like you already do); every trip to the library, grocery store, post office and park is an opportunity to interact with people. The chance to do so under normal circumstances (aka in real life) presents way more teachable moments than the forced, false situation created in a classroom with a bunch of children who are the same age, from the same socio-economic background, and have the same level of social prowess that he does! Like his brother before him, he’ll be perfectly well prepared for school academically and socially with or without preschool. You’ve managed to teach him to eat with a fork, use the toilet, and ride a bike – I’m fairly certain you can help him navigate the challenges of interacting with other human beings. You’ve got this! I second the notion of a playgroup or once a week class (swim, gym, martial arts or music or some such) if that would be fun for both of you. Now if you need preschool for childcare or just for some sanity time, that is a totally different conversation. I just don’t think preschool is strictly necessary or capable of ‘fixing’ the problem you’ve outlined above.

  17. Mary on August 11th, 2012 2:17 pm

    I just finished two years of picking one up and racing across town to get the other.I am relieved that it’s over and they will both be at the same school again this year, but it was doable and worth it. My daughter’s preschool, she went in at 1pm and needed to be picked up at 3:50pm, so not a lot of time to do things before starting the pick-up process but once you get the routine down and he’s happy,of course, might be worth it. My son, who’s almost 8, has some social,shyness issues. We have always told him it’s okay to be shy but if someone greets you, you need to make eye contact and acknowledge them. I won’t force my kids to hug or give kisses to anyone, not even family. Sometimes I think it’s just who they are and my son is a lot like his daddy in social situations. You will know the right fit for Dylan when you find it.
    Good luck!

  18. Christine on August 11th, 2012 2:18 pm

    My son went through a painfully shy stage at 4.5. It was just his horrible half-year thing, and he came out of it again just fine. But for those months, he would literally hide under the table at a party rather than come out and face a room full of kids he mostly knew and a few adults. We stayed with my parents for two weeks, and he ran away whenever my dad came into the room. That was a bit embarrassing, y’know, and we had the talks about the manners. The only thing that made any difference was waiting it out and telling my parents over and over that it was nothing personal, just a phase.

    So it might be something like that. On the other hand, you know your kid: has he always been this way, or does this seem like extreme behavior?

    Are there any co-op pre-schools nearby? They tend to be smaller, and you have to help out in the classroom now and again (like once or twice a month), but they can be really wonderful, and they tend to be cheaper. Ours is really wonderful, and I feel so lucky to have stumbled into it.

  19. Donna on August 11th, 2012 2:43 pm

    Don’t worry, he’ll be okay, he’s just not had to interact with anyone else because he has his big bro doing it for him. When Riley isn’t around, he’ll have to do it on his own.

  20. Liz on August 11th, 2012 3:04 pm

    Hi! I work with preschoolers all the time! One more affordable option might be through Lane County ESD; if they have early childhood classes running they often do a “blended” sort of group that is half kids on IFSPs and half kids from the community. Generally the kids on IFSPs are kids you wouldn’t be able to pick out of a crowd, at least in our ESD area. ;) Dunno what Lane does. Ours is $50/month for 2 2.5 hr classes/week–not a ton, but again, the ability to socialize and play with others is the main focus, especially for kids like Dylan who have a wonderful home, read plenty of books, and have lots of learning opportunities naturally. ESDs have been subject to huge funding cuts in the last year or two, though, so I can’t guaratee what Lane offers. They might be on summer break, but give them a call asking if they take community peers in their early childhood groups/preschool classrooms, and they will be able to tell you.

    Sounds like preschool is a great idea for him, but I wouldn’t worry overly much about his ability to socialize–it will come along. If you and/or Riley are in there playing too, you’ll probably see more–which you already do–and that’s fine. Any preschool teacher worth his/her salt won’t mind “rudeness” that is clearly really shyness. And no one else’s opinions really matter, but it’s hard to feel ashamed as the parent. In the meantime, playgrounds, pools, and beaches are great opportunities for kids to socialize naturally. And believe me, the quirkiness in a kindergarten class tends to be way over the top! Yours will not be the only one. :)

  21. Rachel on August 11th, 2012 3:31 pm

    My kid is a couple days younger than yours and we have the same problem. I do not consider him shy,we call it slow to warm up. We face the same issue with training him to respond when spoken to and it is a constant effort. We are starting a perk program next week and I expect him to take a week or so to warm up.

  22. Christine B on August 11th, 2012 4:34 pm

    I third(? fourth?) the recommendation to really check out the Christian-based preschools. Ours is Methodist, and the extent of religious education is the Bible stories that apply to values like helping others, kindness, respect, stuff like that, a low-key ‘chapel’ time every month, and the saying of a children’s grace before snack. The kids “do” Halloween and the secular as well as religious sides of Easter and Christmas. It’s all very low-key and appropriate, IMHO. And we are not churchgoing people, and although we consider ourselves Christian, I knew I didn’t want a heavy focus on religion in the preschool for my two. My son (who is 4) is much like yours, and preschool really helps him.

  23. Joe on August 11th, 2012 5:15 pm

    We absolutely love the Montessori school our kids go to. It is pricey, but they actually get an education and life skills there… stuff that teaches them to help out around the house, pouring their own drinks and folding towels and cleaning up. And oh yeah, they’re 5 1/2 and reading 2nd and 3rd grade stuff. I wish all kids could start off with Montessori style learning.

  24. Cords on August 11th, 2012 5:18 pm

    Sorry I don’t have any advice on the shy thing but I have 2 things I’d like to say quickly!

    1. Re that great photo of the boys: ummm WHEN did Dylan get so tall? those skinny legs are proper little boy legs!

    2. I’m in Australia, and my husband and I are planning a road trip across the states for about August/Sept next year. Because of your blog & your photos we ARE GOING to Bend, Oregon come hell or high water! I would never otherwise have known that Bend existed, or even thought about Oregon as a place that I might want to go. Can’t wait to get there!

  25. jonniker on August 11th, 2012 5:35 pm

    Ahhh, it was Montessori. That explains everything.

    Sam is a shy kid — painfully so — and has sensory issues to boot. That being said, I noticed a SIGNIFICANT improvement when she was in school vs this summer in terms of how willing she was to try new things and meet new people. Significant. Tire-squealing freedom aside, it’s one of the main reasons I’m singing happy-ass songs looking forward to September.

  26. H on August 11th, 2012 6:10 pm

    I think being a parent who is an introvert made me feel awkward when my introverted child behaved like an introvert because somehow *I* felt on the spot. I struggled with how to react and what to say in the moment. I kind of suck at explaining this, but I guess what I believe now, looking back, is that it felt much worse than it really was. People do, and should, shrug off that kind of behavior in a 4 year old, and the 4 year old eventually becomes more aware of social conventions and figures out that whole “polite” thing. He’ll be OK.

  27. Jennifer @ Flesworthy on August 11th, 2012 6:11 pm

    Have you considered a co-op preschool? We sent our twins to one because it was half the cost of other preschools in our area (twins x preschool = $$yikes$$). However, once we started we really loved the sense of community ours had and all the parental involvement. Since you’d be participating in class every so often, you’d get to see firsthand if it’s making a difference for Dylan or not. We’ve had such a good co-op experience we’re staying there for kindergarten, too.

  28. Linda on August 11th, 2012 6:29 pm

    H: uhhhhh REVELATION over here right now. Thank you, thank you for that.

  29. Emily on August 11th, 2012 8:13 pm

    Cam is the exact same way. Will say Thank you spontaneously, but if I ask him to say thank you (like say, at a birthday party), he refuses and makes embarrassing baby refusal sounds. Preschool has definitely helped him. They have been very patient with him and never push him and over the years (yes years), he has slowly opened up, and even speaks up at circle time (sometimes)! (I about fainted when they told me that). I feel your pain, and I have anxiety about it constantly, but I try to rely on the “in due time” solution. I was also a very, very quiet kid – I try to remind myself of that, and I think we put way more social pressure on our very young kids these days than when we were that young.

  30. jodie on August 11th, 2012 8:14 pm

    I’m also going to chime in about the Christian preschool…just check it out. I wasn’t raised in a religious environment, so a “Christian preschool” just wasn’t my thang, ya know? But it had great reviews, and when I met with the director, I mentioned my hesitation and she said “we are a preschool, we are not a replacement for Sunday School”. Sold! Plus I liked the fact that the kids could celebrate Christmas and do an actual Christmas program, etc. My son went there for two years and we loved it! They did pray before snack, which skeeved me out, but that was about it.

  31. Kris on August 11th, 2012 8:19 pm

    My 4-year-old is on the autism spectrum, and I put him in daycare 4 mornings a week this summer to help build up his confidence. He loved it! He still doesn’t really engage much WITH the other kids, but oh sweet jeebus, he has fun being AROUND them.

    Also, FWIW, I don’t think you have to succumb to the pressures of sending him to a brand name center, like Montessori. Just get him somewhere, anywhere, a few hours a week to play or socialize or whatever. I don’t know if it will “help” him, per se, but I bet he’ll have fun & we all need more fun in our lives.

    Oh, one more thing, don’t worry about him coming off as rude. He’s not. People understand. With Mason, I ask him if he can say “hi” to at least get him to acknowledge their presence; but if he can’t, we don’t make a big deal out of it. I just shrug my shoulders, roll my eyes a tiny bit & grin, & say “eh, you should hear him jabber at home”. I usually get a knowing nod, and no one has ever said anything negative to my face about it. Well, except for my own parents, but that’s a whole ‘nother bag of issues! :)

  32. Erin on August 11th, 2012 8:26 pm

    Yes, I fell ino the trap of what others would think of how I raising my kids if they didn’t “politely” respond to strangers’ questions. Then one day my childhood friend said to me, “Stop worrying, you’re the only one who thinks he’s being rude. The rest of us think he’s being five.”

    P.S. Go, Aunt Linda!

  33. Redbecca on August 11th, 2012 9:19 pm

    Erin you beat me to it: go Aunt Linda!

  34. JMH on August 12th, 2012 5:34 am

    I think, for now, he is young and he will grow out of it. However, PLEASE keep re-enforcing manners (example-don’t ignore someone if they say hello) For example, when you introduce him to another person, and he refuses to speak..that is fine. But after the incident, you should gently remind him that it is polite to say “Hi” to someone when you meet them, just like it is polite to say “Thank you”.
    The reason I say this, is because my daughters friend was a shy toddler, and her parents always made excuses for her. She *still* acts likes that….and she is almost 12! She also is NOT shy anymore….she just chooses when she will speak. It comes across as very rude….she has even refused to answer questions in school..just because she didn’t feel like it. Her parents STILL make excuses for her too. Makes me crazy…and my daughter gets tired of it too. (and no, she is not on the spectrum and she does not have special needs)

  35. Anonymous on August 12th, 2012 6:33 am

    I am VERY outgoing and somehow gave birth to two very shy kids. The boy-child exhibited traditionally “shy” behavior, so I while I did try to engage him, it wasn’t overly stressful to me. The girl-child would look adults (she has always been good with kids, even older kids, just not adults) in the eye, frown and then turn her back, hide behind me, do some other horridly anti-social behavior which just MORTIFIED ME. And this continued up until she was in MIDDLE SCHOOL. I used to tell her over and over, that shy was fine, but the way she acted and the fact that I was so uber-friendly made her look snobby, stuck-up and unmannerly. I guess maybe it was a phase, or she finally understood what I meant, because now that she’s in high school, she doesn’t do that any more. She doesn’t always speak a lot, but she always smiles and says “hello.” So I would say Dylan is probably fine but that it wouldn’t hurt for you to work on having him give people a shy smile before hiding/running off.

  36. cakeburnette on August 12th, 2012 6:35 am

    Oops, forgot to fill in info. ^^ That was my comment. I thought of something else right after I hit the ‘enter’ key. A smile and a small flappy wave will usually suffice for ‘mannerly’ behavior to most folks, especially when the shy child is as young and adorable as Dylan!

  37. jen on August 12th, 2012 7:22 am

    I agree with H. Once I realized that I stopped fussing over it. I still feel weird when my older kids refuse to engage but… they are getting better and “being social to random strangers” isn’t really a requirement, is it??

    I put my 5yo in montessori when he was 4 and at that point he refused to speak to any other children and most adults as well. But when I asked his teachers if he talked they all looked at me like I was crazy and said he is reserved, but not shy, and a leader. I was shocked then but I see it now. When I put my 4yr old in the same school I had to drag him to the gate and peel him off of me, it was like putting a cat in a crate but he did eventually adjust – but then my 5yo wouldn’t ever even say HELLO to his former teacher when she ‘d see him at drop off. Every day I would drive away feeling like crap for her, and I started to tell him simply and quietly every time, that he didn’t have to sing or have a conversation but it was really rude of him to not at least smile and say hello. Every day I told him this and then he started saying hi in that squeaky-shy voice. A couple weeks ago we saw her in the supermarket and he went right up to her and started talking her ear off! I think the best thing regardless of school is teaching by example and quiet repetition. I think we as parents start to expect that when we tell them something they should listen and learn it the first time but sometimes it takes telling them 200 times to get it ingrained.

    The 4yo has grown SO MUCH in that school, but I think a lot of it has to do with age. He was also afraid of random things, and will still cover his ears and walk in circles when things get too loud or overwhelming… but this summer he just all of a sudden I guess decided his theme was going to be Try New Things.

    What is part-time? I pay $400/mo for three half days per week of montessori. If it was 5 half days or 3 full days I’d say the $600 is about right. Also I did the racing across town thing. It’s hectic but once things calm down it’ll be routine and not so bad, but I am sure glad it’s over! I had to go pick up the younger one, come back and give them both lunch, then go right back out and take the older one to the bus stop. I never missed the bus, but there were days that lunch was more like a snack eaten on the run.

  38. Melissa on August 12th, 2012 7:38 am

    I had a very, very shy 3-year-old and Montessori did wonders for her. It was such a quiet, gentle place and really allowed her to come out of her shell at her own pace. Now, at age 7, you would never know she used to hide her face whenever we went out in public. I’ve now put two kids through (crushingly expensive) Montessori preschool and it was worth every penny, not just for the social skills they gained, but for the academic y daughter started elementary school with a few other kids from her preschool and all of them were reading fluently and doing advanced math compared to other kids. So I highly recommend it!

  39. Angella on August 12th, 2012 7:44 am

    I love your Aunt Linda’s comment. And H’s comment.

    Believe it or not, I can be quite shy (SHUT UP. IT’S TRUE). It was much worse when I was younger, but yeah. And then along came Emily and when she was age 3-4, she was HORRIBLY shy. Like, clung when we dropped her off at preschool, refused to be on stage for any kind of production, etc. And because of my shy tendencies, I felt pretty sensitive about it.

    She’s much better now, though she’s much like me where she’ll hesitate with new people and sometimes still hide behind me. He’ll be fine. :)

  40. Joanna on August 12th, 2012 7:56 am

    Have you read ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’ by Susan Cain? It helped me accept my social style more and might be helpful in the Dylan situation.

  41. sarah on August 12th, 2012 8:06 am

    My seven-year old daughter was the same way – hiding behind us, refusal to answer/engage, etc. – until about age six. And she was in day care or preschool from birth, basically, so plenty socialized. So I really think it’s a maturity issue and it’ll go away gradually. But enduring the phase as it is going on SUCKS, and I remember being continually mortified during those years. I agree w/ the “slow to warm up” comment above – that’s how I always thought of my girl. Anyway, I feel ya! This too shall pass, right?

  42. Jess on August 12th, 2012 9:55 am

    My oldest was painfully shy. To the point of hiding between my legs and averting her face, and being SO VERY RESERVED that I was honestly terrified for her future.

    Preschool didn’t help. She went, she cried every day, she was okay, but for her? It was just time.

    I insisted on please and thank you, no matter what. She HAD to say those to people, but other than that? I figured she’d come out of it in her own time.

    She did. She’s almost 9 now, and my loudest, most friendly, least fearful child. It all happened naturally, and within her comfort level, which is why I think she’s so very confident now.

  43. katie on August 12th, 2012 1:44 pm

    I never think anything of it when little kids won’t say hi to me or warm up right away, even if I make overtures and the parents make overtures (which I actually think can backfire). I’m a stranger! Just because I know I’m harmless and love little kids, doesn’t mean they know it. It’s built-in defense mechanism. I get that. I think most other people do, too, especially in a preschool setting. And it might just help for him to be exposed to it everyday and have teachers who also know how to handle that developmental stage.
    Oh, and? I didn’t really like other kids when I was little. I thought they were all idiots. So even though I was outgoing, I often preferred to stick my nose in a book or do my own thing. It passed eventually. :)

  44. katie on August 12th, 2012 1:45 pm

    I think rather than defense mechanism, I meant survival mechanism. And that’s a good thing!

  45. Margaret on August 12th, 2012 2:06 pm

    I was a shy child, many moons ago, who was forced to socialize because my parents were worried I’d become That Kid — the one who sits alone in a corner and never has any friends, and then becomes The Log Lady from Twin Peaks. That did not happen, even though The Log Lady and I share a first name, heh.

    However, I did become highly skeptical of the tools used in my socialization efforts — for example, my folks made me talk on the phone to relatives, and to this day, I hate the phone. So, pushing too hard can actually do more harm than good.

    Also, I have a daughter who started life very shy and cautious. As a result of my own experiences, I never pushed her. I did explain manners and I modeled the behavior I wanted her to eventually demonstrate and while it did take a couple of years, she moved through it on her own. She’s still quiet, but very polite and will now, at almost 8, order her own meals at restaurants and stuff like that.

    So, short version — don’t force it, and it’ll work out on its own.

  46. Lisa on August 12th, 2012 3:16 pm

    Both of my kids have personalities exactly like yours. My younger one was also that way during her first year of pre-school: quiet, shy, not many friends. Her second year she came out of her shell and was like a different kid by the end of the year. Kindergarten was also fantastic with friends and learning and playdates; first grade she was a weepy mess nearly every.damned.day and I had to physically shove her towards the bus in the morning to get on it because she wanted to stay home with me. GAH. I guess my point is that you’ll have ups and downs and they’ll seem to come far and then regress, but as long as they are healthy and happy, try not to worry. BTW, my youngest is now 11 and so confident and outgoing and social that I can’t hardly keep her schedule straight. Hang in there!

  47. Anneli on August 12th, 2012 5:39 pm

    I’m to the left of paganism, but put my kids in a Methodist preschool. They loved it. Lots of local kids, great learning experiences……Perhaps cuz they weren’t as heavy-handed with the “faith based curriculum”? You never know!

  48. Joanne on August 12th, 2012 5:58 pm

    I am a religious nut but I’m Catholic and send my kids to the preschool at a Methodist church and really, they don’t do very much at all having to do with religion, but I can understand if you don’t want to do it at all. I have a good friend who doesn’t want any kind of Christian environment for her kids’ school and she put them in a Co-op, is there nothing like that by you? If not, I think I’d suck it up if you can and pay for the Montessori option. I think especially because you have concerns about D’s social life, to put it simply, a Montessori environment would be great for him. I have a friend who is Italian and she sends her kids to a Montessori preschool because it’s a really good match for them – her oldest didn’t speak English when she moved here and really, the Montessori school was the only option. So if it’s close and would be good for D and there’s a way you can swing it, I’d give it a try. I used to have to drive super far to get my second from preschool and then race across town to get my oldest and as bad as you think it is, it’s worse, if you add in possible sickness and other scheduling issues.
    My three year old is kind of an ahole with other people and I’d say she is shy, but my four year old is SUPER outgoing and crazy but even she can be rude if someone just wants her to say hi or whatever. So I think it’s pretty common, I hope you’re not worried about it. He’s so cute and seems so fun loving, but I’m sure he counts on Riley and it will be an adjustment no matter where he goes. Anyways good luck with your decision.

  49. Shy on August 13th, 2012 12:34 am

    Both of my 5yos are still mute when spoken to by adults they aren’t chummy with. It is frustrating and embarrassing.

    It tends to help if, on the day of, I tell them in advance that people are going to speak to them and they are to respond with ___ at a minimum. Or else.

    In their case, they play just fine with other kids once they warm up a bit, but seem to be intimidated by adults (which I can kind of understand).

  50. Lisa M. on August 13th, 2012 7:04 am

    Re: shyness. You might institute a rewards system for a while, like: if someone speaks to you and you give a polite response back, you get a gold star (and 5 gold stars = ice cream, or horse visit, or something). And 2 gold stars for saying hi to someone in the grocery store (or other crowded area, so that stranger danger is not an issue). That way, Dylan can choose whether he wants to respond/initiate contact, so he still feels in control, but there is a positive experience (the reward) which might help mitigate the negative feelings he’s having.

  51. Cass on August 13th, 2012 7:35 am

    My 14 year old still acts like this. He is the nicest, happiest kid in his own environment. But hoo-boy change stuff up and he becomes near mute, which yes, sometimes comes across as arrogant or rude. I struggle with this daily. If an adult asks him a question and he clams up, I have a hard time not answering for him. Which of course does nothing for his socializing and lets him off the hook. But if I don’t answer for him, I worry that people will think he is rude and he really is not. Sorry, I am not much help. I keep hoping something I enrol him in will get that light switch to go on. His older brother was shy too – but more of a sports guy, which seemed to give him the confidence he needed. Good luck!

  52. Jennifer on August 13th, 2012 7:40 am

    Both my kids have gone through/are in Montessori, and when done well, I think it can’t be beat. Boosts confidence, independence, and various practical skills. But what I didn’t realize when I signed mine up is that the no forced sharing/forced participation, the personal space, etc. really helped make the kids secure. Then they wanted to participate and share and chat it up, and it was sincere and because they felt good about it. It was a glorious thing. That said, if it’s too expensive, it’s too expensive, and I’m sure any well-run program will help him feel more comfortable being himself out in the open (even if it’s quietly and unassumingly).

    I am pretty introverted, and I have extroverts for children, and THAT makes me feel so awkward. Like I’m constantly worried they are talking to other people too much. It’s so hard to tell when it’s charming and when it’s relentless, and I spend a lot of effort just trying to gauge people and/or reel the kids in. So I think you really can’t win on this one unless you have a kid with a perfectly middle ground personality.

  53. AnotherErin on August 13th, 2012 7:47 am

    I think the issue of manners and the issue of socialization are separate. But I agree about the Christian preschools (we do Montessori ourselves and love it, but I know folks who do Christian preschools and Jewish preschool and most of the kids are not really Christian or Jewish and the curriculum is not religious, unless it’s like Baptist or something). A home day care might be better for you. In the town where I am, there’s a Waldorf-montessori hybrid home day care/pre school. The group is smaller than a typical preschool and is more, I don’t know, homey. It might be cheaper and a warmer environment for Dylan.

    I also wouldn’t worry too much about the shyness/manners issue. I agree with the people above about introverts and forcing kids even to say “hi” or “bye” is unpleasant and frequently results in a power struggle. A friend of mine insists that her 4 y.o. say “thank you” to me every time he leaves my house and he always refuses and I never care and it always turns into a nightmare power struggle between the two of them. they say that teaching them manners by example works, and I believe it. I’ve also found books about manners really helpful. My 4 y.o. loves the Richard Scarry Please and Thank You book (old school!) and also there’s a Berenstein Bears Forget Their Manners book. I like the Richard Scarry one better, but my son loves both, and he does absorb. (Montessori also has a ‘Grace and manners’ part of its practical life curriculum, so there’s that, too.)

    I have friends in Eugene and I’d be happy to ask around re: home day care, if you’re interested at all.

  54. Shannon C. on August 13th, 2012 9:38 am

    As others already mentioned, it sounds to me like Dylan might be a classic introvert. Might I suggest this book that changed my life, “The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World” by Marti Olsen Laney. There’s a chapter in it about being a parent to an introvert child. It’s a quick read, very engaging, and very eye-opening! It may help you reframe his seemingly shy or socially indifferent behavior.

  55. Jenny on August 13th, 2012 9:50 am

    Just to chime in with others — my kids went to a nominally Christian preschool, and they never got any Bible curriculum at all. (I’m a Christian, but I would have cared a lot what KIND of Christian message they were getting, you know?) The limit of the Christianity there was “we treat each other with love and respect,” which, great. I’m sure a lot of other parents are in your position.

  56. MEP on August 13th, 2012 11:00 am

    I’m another one whose daughter went to a preschool at a Christian church that had basically zero faith-based lessons or activities (which is how I wanted it). They had one “preschool day” church service a year and even that was totally optional and more like a concert or “OMG look how cute” exercise. I think it’s definitely worth getting recommendations on and visiting to see what’s up.

    Not sure how traffic is in your town, but if I pick up my daughter at 2PM I can’t even get out of the school parking lot in ten minutes, so I wouldn’t sign up for the pressure of getting across town in 25 minutes unless Dylan’s school is lenient on pick-up times.

  57. Corinne on August 13th, 2012 11:31 am

    My son (just turned 4) is very reserved around non-family. It breaks my heart when I ask who he played with at daycare and he says “No one, I played myself.” But I think he’s fine, it just bothers ME. I don’t like to think of him being lonely all day…but he’s not actually lonely. He likes to watch the other kids and follows what’s going on, he just doesn’t want to participate.
    Understand, I can write this here and intellectually understand the concept, but when I pick up up this afternoon I’ll still feel the same way. Maybe I should stop asking.

  58. Olivia on August 13th, 2012 11:42 am

    I’m sending my daughter to a program like what Liz described. It’s thru the public school system. Half her class is special needs and the other is “community buddies”, only $60 for part time.

    As for the shyness, don’t push it. Continue to encourage him to say hello, but don’t sweat it just yet. I didn’t really come out of my shyness until I was a teenager and starting working with the public.

  59. Fidi on August 13th, 2012 12:17 pm

    Preschool won’t help with the shyness and initial aeh, rudeness… but he may make some friends over time which helps with self esteem and later in Kindergarden.
    Shy kids are very rude at that age. Be gentle when you teach hime and cut him a lot of slack. Ask other adults/kids to do the same. He will mostly grow out of the rudeness.
    Sometimes we interpret too much into this behavior because we are shy ourselves (and don’t want our kids to be) or we are not (and can’t relate).
    Btw, in our family it’s the 6 year old brother who actually helps my shy 4 year old the most…

  60. Very Bloggy Beth on August 13th, 2012 8:11 pm

    My 4 year old is a lot like that too. He doesn’t even like to ask other kids at the park to use their sand toys. Painfully shy. And I get it, I was a super shy kid too. It’s embarrassing when an adult says hi or asks him for a high five or whatever, and he stares at the wall behind them, deadpan. But, I’ve gotten over it. If people don’t get that he’s just being a shy kid, screw ‘em. Most people do get it and really don’t care. Preschool helped a bit, I suppose, in that he was able to trust adults other than me and my husband. But, like I said he’s still shy around other people we see outside the context of school.

  61. yaya on August 13th, 2012 10:51 pm

    Been there, doing that. You describe my kiddo to a perfect T…Rude, grunchy, surly, aloof…he is the funniest, sweetest, snuggliest dude with us but to strangers, teachers, friends, grandparents etc…the list goes on & on, he can be downright Surly. So hard for us parents to deal with :-( My dude is 5.5 and went to preschool for 2 yrs, it helped a bit & he is much more social and has warmed to most kids his age (oddly all the kids want to be his friend because he is funny and somehow naturall ‘cool’) but is still (Rude, Shy, Sensitive, whatever you want to name it) to every one else under the sun & even his buddies on certain days.

    Here’s to hoping kindergarten goes ok in a week…booyah! No answers, just know you are SO not alone in this type of kiddo description category :-)

  62. Maggie on August 14th, 2012 6:00 am

    My daughter is very shy too and it used to bother me so much that she wouldn’t say hi to someone. However, we have discovered that it was so incredibly difficult for her and caused so much anxiety that we just let it go. She is now going into second grade and time has helped, she will say thank you or hi, albeit in a very quiet voice.

    I hope you figure out the preschool situation!

  63. Jenny H. on August 14th, 2012 7:17 am

    My oldest son was like that, and to some extent stil is. He has never had a problem talking to adults, just kids his own age. Unless he has grown up with them. He had a great prek teacher and she helped with some of his shyness, but he was never really one to participate with the whole class. And now we know why. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome this Spring. He has Social and Anxiety Issues. It’s been an experience for all of us. And it explains SO much about him. He is crazy smart, he just lacks social skills. Not all of them, but some. I’m not telling you this to freak you out. And I am in no way implying I think he is Autistic. I’m simply sharing my story. Well, part of it anyway. I understand the frustration, believe me. I feel like maybe it’s harder for me as a parent when my children don’t behave a certain way because I love them and I don’t want to be “that” parent who has a rotten little brat that all the other adults talk about and don’t want their children to play with. Sigh…being a mama is hard work. You do it very well!

  64. Jenny H. on August 14th, 2012 7:17 am


  65. kristin on August 14th, 2012 8:28 am

    I have a VERY shy nephew. This doesn’t exactly apply to your sitch right now, but perhaps it will next year? His bday is in Sept so his mom kept him back a year, so he did an extra year or preschool and started kindergarten a year “late.” That second year of preschool helped him come out of his shell like WHOA. As I said, he is VERY shy, painfully shy… but he also had latent leadership skills. Being around younger kids that didn’t know the routines yet bolstered his self-confidence, I guess. He became a total leader/teacher’s helper-type in school and that translated to the rest of his life.

  66. cara on August 14th, 2012 8:32 am

    So, I’m not anyone with any sort of experience to speak from and no children to even have to worry about any of this with. So there’s my possibly-totally-idiot disclaimer. I also want to say that I totally get being disinterested in a ‘christian-based curriculum’. Heck, I probably would be too. But! Since it’s preschool, I’m wondering if there might be any, yes, ‘christian’ based places that you could look into? I’m thinking they might not all be JESUS EAT JESUS, you know? A lot of times there are places run by churches (affiliated or even AT churches) that aren’t exactly…. churchy? Plus, it’s not like he’s learning evolution as a four year old, you know? I went to a preschool that was at a church because it was one of the ONLY preschools in the area, and I don’t remember ever doing anything church-related there (not that I remember much, I’m just sayin’… it seemed sort of separate from the church, and was attended by all sorts of kids from the area). Just a thought is all… I just sort of seriously doubt that every single christian-oriented place is actually spending all their time teaching jesus to four year olds. If it means anything to you, I don’t attend church and don’t consider myself to really be ‘religious’ of any particular flavor…I don’t want to sound like I’m secretly pushing god on you… I’m totally not at all! I just think *some* of those places *could potentially* be options, and there might be nothing wrong with a lot of what they might teach (you know… discipline… socialization… play time…. colors….). Tha’s all. –best of luck!

  67. cara on August 14th, 2012 8:52 am

    I probably should have just said “I’m sure there are a lot of options”. LOL.

  68. Jen on August 14th, 2012 9:43 am

    OK. after thinking about the other comments this morning, I had to add my 2 cents….okay everyone analyzing your child as a “classic introvert” needs to chill the hell out. I love all “introvert books,” etc…recommended to you. He’s a “classic child” His shyness, etc…is NOTHING more that that. Most kids, who have not spent 400 hours a week in daycare, have natural shyness around new people. That is normal, AND HEALTHY. After years of teaching school I’ve seen it time and time again, kids start Kdg. shy, and as they grow and mature, they “come into their own. Your son will be more than fine, I wouldn’t stop the instilling manners part for a SECOND. For all of those who said stop and try it later on, do not have kids with manners instilled in them. For it to become second nature to the kids, you have to keep working on it, whether they respond or not. It’s called TEACHING folks. Sorry Linda, the comments over analyzing crap DRIVE ME CRAZY and I get tired of people making a federal case out of a little normal, HEALTHY, shyness. Sorry, my 2 cents.

  69. yaya on August 14th, 2012 11:00 am

    Just had to chime in again to agree with Jen above a little bit (although from this mama’s point of view a ‘little normal healthy shyness’ feels like complete ass for the parent some days when your kid is the one giving the proverbial finger to everyone from grandma to the Pope). I do agree that as I poured thru every website and book for highly sensitive kiddos and people etc, that a BIG part of my kid being more reserved/surly/aloof was MY reactions & feelings to his behavior and how I felt it was a direct reflection of ME as a person/mom. Lately we have taken a more laid-back approach & let him be (and honored him for being) who he is…but I am more firm in my reaction to things that are just not OK in the social aspect of things. As a new mom I was so thrown by his behavior that I tried to soothe him or removed him from the situation but now that he is 5.5yrs, as painful as it is for me (especially in public) we do try and instill basic ground rules for being a human being in society, introverted/shy/quiet/whatever. If he wants to snarl at the kindly old supermarket check-out lady, fine or wants to give the cold shoulder to a buddy at preschool who says “hi, so glad you’re here” and my Dude holds up his hand ‘whatever’…fine BUT we do draw the line at being a total skunk in certain situations because socially it’s just not ok, for a 5 yr old or 40 yr old. Of course it is easier for a 40yr old to be an assh*le and have it be pseudo OK. Yet when it’s your kid, it’s really tough to take as a parent but again I am becoming so much more aware of how my kids behavior is not so much a problem as my reaction (and how I’m being viewed) is.

  70. Dana on August 14th, 2012 3:33 pm

    I have a kid who sometimes borders on rude when she is first spoken to by an adult. While I am in no way shy now, I don’t know how I was when I was her age, as my mom died before I had kids and never thought to ask her, and my dad is useless with these types of situations and what he remembers.

    She eventually opens up and then never shuts up, so I often feel that the problem is not that she’s shy, but that she’s rude, and to someone who is the opposite of rude, I find it mortifying. I try to just shrug it off but it gets to me.

    Finally, I realized that if I don’t make such a big deal about it, and shrug it off with a “She takes some time to open up,” it takes the pressure off of everyone involved.

    I have a neighbor who would punish her kid everytime someone said hello to him and he didn’t respond. That was her way of dealing with the issue. We all have our own way. No one should judge; parenting is so god damn tough.

  71. Leah on August 14th, 2012 8:44 pm

    I don’t have a shy child, but she can be pretty stubborn and intentionally rude – both to family and out and about in the world. I do a lot of parroting for her. I don’t know what to call it, but I basically say the sentence for her “Now we say thank you for inviting us over and it was fun, etc” or when she screams “instead we say no thank you Mom, I don’t want carrots today.” And that’s it. I don’t tell her she has to say these things and I don’t make her through threats or anything. But she’s started just repeating. It’s the only parenting success I’ve ever had. Stop setting up a situation where you’ll be embarrassed when he doesn’t respond, as “Tell the nice lady….” just go “Here is where you would say…”. Worth a try.

  72. sharon on August 15th, 2012 5:56 am

    My older son was totally like that at 4. He was shy at school, would ignore people when they said hello, he would hang on my leg instead of playing with the neighborhood kids and he would never say thank you when someone gave him something or said something nice. But it totally passed. By the time he went to kindergarten he was making friends and would chat with anyone who wanted to have a conversation. He’s almost 11 now and I can’t believe the difference. He just grew out of the shyness.

  73. Jane Ann on August 15th, 2012 9:13 am

    I have the same problem with my nine year old. She seems fine at school, has a few friends, gets along well with the teachers but if someone she doesn’t know says “hi” or asks her a question, she clams up. I try to explain to her that it’s rude not to answer someone, but I’m not sure it’s getting through. She’s kind of like my cat – she won’t talk to the person, but she will stay in the room and observe them. I guess it’s like a vetting process or something. If she deems them worthy, she will eventually open up. I’m kind of at a loss and just hoping that she’ll grow out of it but I’ve stopped trying to “parrot” her – I don’t want her to get used to me answering questions for her.

    I know I offered no advice, but I feel your pain. I wouldn’t worry too much about him. He’s four and has a lot of time to grow out of that. I will say that one thing I try and do is if we are at a restaurant, I have my daughter order for herself. If she wants a refill, I have her ask for it. If she wants to pet a dog at the park, I have her go ask the dog owner…anything that can get her to talk to adults.

  74. Marna on August 15th, 2012 4:16 pm

    Linda do you think that Dylan might be truly introverted? I learned that being shy and being introverted are not the same thing. And raising an introverted kid sometimes can be a challenge.

    I know that I thought Nick was just shy because he too didn’t want to socialize like the other kids. He would have rather spent time alone reading, or doing stuff that was independent. He didn’t like strangers at all.

    So I had to learn about introverted kids which was hard for me because well I am not, I am outgoing and extroverted. And then I had to understand what it meant to be introverted. I got a huge education.

    Nick for instance would talk to family members but forget it when it came to strangers.

    He did way more listening than talking and he only has a few close friends. Nick loves to read or play games with a few, he loves to go into his own room with the door closed, he is creative, had imaginary friends, and always watched games first or really any other activity before he joined it, and then he’d have to be coaxed.

    We had to work really hard with him to have him understand it was okay to make a mistake. If he made one in public, holy shit, he would become deeply and I mean deeply humiliated. What else – oh yeah he gets crabby “assholic” if he spends a lot of time with a lot of other people and he does not to this day share his feelings easily.

    I would think Dylan is probably behaving normally for a four year old kid who’s perhaps introverted.

  75. Anne on August 15th, 2012 7:33 pm

    We compromised on having her wave at people who said hello to her. This showed that she was aware of them, and was a friendly gesture.

  76. Meg on August 16th, 2012 1:23 am

    Re shyness, this is total assvice, I’m just saying what I do, I don’t expect this to necessarily be right for you or to work for you.

    I am VERY big on basic manners, especially please and thank you. But at the same time I’m also very big on letting kids hide if they need to. On making allowances for different personalities and preferences. So I tend to be absolutely immovable about some minimum of manners but what that might be will depend on the kid and the situation.

    For example, my sister brought little presents for all my kids the other day. My mildly autistic 7 y.o. is at the stage with my sister where she’ll warm up to her eventually, each time she sees her, but it does take time. She took the present, happily enough. I told her to say thank you, she didn’t, wanted to run off to her room, was mad at me. I made her say thank you but then let her run off again. (She came out again of her own accord not long afterwards and was friendly to my sister, but that’s not the point, blah blah blah!)

    So, in your situation, I’d find some minimum of manners that the kid was able to handle with *some* pushing, then I’d let the kid continue to be shy. I like suggestions above about things like a wave or a smile, if talking’s too hard.

    (I’d never push the kid to the point of MASSIVELY UPSETTING them or me; if saying thank you was really beyond my 7 y.o., I’d find something else that she was capable of doing with a little pushing. I wouldn’t force her to say thank you if it was that hard for her. I’d find something else then would enforce that every time.)

    (I’m not clarifying because I think you’re an idiot and would go scream at your kid to do an elaborate mime wearing a top hat and a pheasant costume to indicate just how very pleased he is on this fine morn to meet yonder new person! I’m clarifying in case it looks like I’m a horror to my poor kids.)

  77. Marie Green on August 16th, 2012 6:58 am

    My twins have historically been EXTREMELY shy. They went to preschool though, and after they adjust to the setting, they would warm up and talk to the other kids and even the teachers. They were still painfully (and rudely, like you said) shy when they started elementary school. Again, though, once they warmed up, they spoke to their teachers and classmates just fine. HOWEVER, if we saw a teacher anyplace but school? They would totally hide behind me and refuse to engage.

    This also goes for other adults in our lives: we see the same people every week for dinner, have close friends that are practically the girls’ AUNTS and UNCLES, that the girls talk to and interact with nearly daily THEIR ENTIRE LIVES. But if we’d run into them at Target? NOPE. No talking, not even to say hi.

    It IS embarrassing. They would also refuse to say thank you when necessary in certain settings, which made me mad. I ended up just saying “She says thank you” FOR HER, so they would see me modeling manners. To them, even being asked to say thank you was being asked to “preform.”

    Anyway, they are 9 now and much MUCH less shy. They are still reserved in some settings, but the painful shyness is gone. They will even strike up a conversation with adults they know, even in different settings!

    So yes, I’d say give it time.

  78. Holly on August 16th, 2012 6:04 pm

    Socialization is one of the best reasons to send a kid to a daycare. It could just be his temperament, it could be he has some skills to learn. But that’s what those trained teachers are there to help with. It’s a win-win! :)

  79. Jill on August 17th, 2012 9:17 am

    I was a nanny for a shy kid. He did get WAAAAY over it after starting preschool. But I get the good manners thing.

    I used to tell him that he didn’t have to speak directly to the person talking to him, but he had to tell ME his answers to their questions/greetings. That way, he was learning appropriate conversation skills, but didn’t have the pressure of talking to someone he wasn’t comfortable with.

    Like I said, after a few months of preschool, he was a totally different kid, though he would still get bashful when put on the spot.

  80. Jen on August 17th, 2012 12:51 pm

    Holly- THAT IS ridiculous….”socialization is the best reason to send a kid to daycare?” You’ve got to be kidding me!!!!!!!!!! Yeah, waaaaaaaaaaay better to have a bunch of immature peers “socialize” him than his own mother/father….keep trying to make yourself feel better, because that’a load of b.s!!!!

  81. Randy on August 17th, 2012 2:44 pm

    We did the co-op preschool thing with one of ours. Total waste of time and money, and mostly time… and money, of course.

    Is homeschooling not an option for you? Public school sucks ass anymore. Teach fractions? Yeah they teach them about 10 ways each one confusing your kid more than the last.

  82. Andrea on August 18th, 2012 4:57 pm

    Little harsh on the socialization being one of the best reasons for preschool, I think.
    Socialization is a huge part of preschool. More important than learning ABC’s and 123’s. And this is coming from a preschool teacher. I work with a group of 3.5 year olds, with different temperaments. Some very outgoing, flexible, fiesty, and some very cautious, slow to warm up. Frequently the outgoing kids need reminders that the more cautious kids need space and time before they’re ready to greet other people, or play. Sometimes they need time to observe what’s going on before making a choice about what they wish to get involved with.

    I liked my daughter’s preschool, which was a ministry of the Methodist Church it was located in. There was not a heavy Christian influence on the daily activities. The excellent staff and super environment both indoors and outdoors far outweighed my concerns, and I’m Jewish.

  83. Clover on September 24th, 2012 8:00 pm

    I’m very late to the party here, but thought I’d throw in my .02
    My daughter is literally days younger than Dylan and behaves very similarly. A year ago we enrolled her in a daycare in Puyallup (not a chain) for 2x a week and it has done WONDERS.
    She’s now in the pre-K daycare class and the teacher is an actual, certified teacher. We pay $28/day, so about $252/month for 2 full days per week. They work on letters and numbers, work on social interactions, and go on field trips even though it’s considered a daycare.
    My point being, maybe check into local daycares. Some may offer similar pre-K programs and be more affordable.

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