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?

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Pete
Pete
10 years ago

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).

Pete
Pete
10 years ago

How are the bugs up there?

Brooke
10 years ago

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.

NancyJ
NancyJ
10 years ago

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.

Clarabella
Clarabella
10 years ago

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.)

Ang
Ang
10 years ago

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!

Jess
10 years ago

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.

Emily
Emily
10 years ago

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.

Lisa
Lisa
10 years ago

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!

Rhea
Rhea
10 years ago

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.

Aunt Linda
Aunt Linda
10 years ago

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.

Robin J.
10 years ago

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!

Meagan
10 years ago

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.

Amanda
Amanda
10 years ago

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!

Christen
10 years ago

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?

Stephanie
Stephanie
10 years ago

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.

Mary
Mary
10 years ago

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!

Christine
10 years ago

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.

Donna
Donna
10 years ago

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.

Liz
Liz
10 years ago

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. :)

Rachel
Rachel
10 years ago

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.

Christine B
10 years ago

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.

Joe
Joe
10 years ago

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.

Cords
Cords
10 years ago

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!

jonniker
10 years ago

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.

H
H
10 years ago

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.

Jennifer @ Flesworthy
10 years ago

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.

Emily
10 years ago

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.

jodie
jodie
10 years ago

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.

Kris
10 years ago

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! :)

Erin
10 years ago

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!

Redbecca
Redbecca
10 years ago

Erin you beat me to it: go Aunt Linda!

JMH
JMH
10 years ago

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)

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

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.

cakeburnette
cakeburnette
10 years ago

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!

jen
jen
10 years ago

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.

Melissa
Melissa
10 years ago

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!

Angella
10 years ago

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. :)

Joanna
Joanna
10 years ago

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.

sarah
10 years ago

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?

Jess
10 years ago

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.

katie
10 years ago

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. :)

katie
10 years ago

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

Margaret
Margaret
10 years ago

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.

Lisa
Lisa
10 years ago

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!

Anneli
Anneli
10 years ago

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!

Joanne
10 years ago

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.

Shy
Shy
10 years ago

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).

Lisa M.
Lisa M.
10 years ago

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.