Picture this -
Your child cannot wait to go to their friend's birthday party. They talk at school about it all day, they text you reminders the whole week leading up to it, car rides consist of excited party talk! The day before you need to pick up the gift, your child says they’re not sure if they want to go anymore. They go from being excited to anxious and withdrawn. They stopped talking to their friend who is having the party. They may be irritable, their stomach or head might hurt.
So what happened?
When did you begin to recognize the anxiety creeping in over the upcoming event? For many children, signs of social anxiety start anywhere from a few weeks to a few hours leading up to an event.
You're not understanding. You try to talk about the other friends who will be present, the gift that they were so excited to buy. All of these are logical reasons to you, but to a child with social anxiety, they aren’t helpful.
What can cause social anxiety?
A new School
Let's find a solution to help you and your family
Listen to their conversations. How are they conversing with you, teachers and friends?
Ask other parents how they are handling similar situations for their children or themselves
Prepare the child ahead of events. Get them involved with choosing birthday gifts for friends, come up with fun games they could play or subjects of interest to share with others.
The night before an event, check in on how they are feeling. Offer solutions like deep breathing or counting to 10 while they take a quiet moment to regather their emotions.
Preparation and solutions will make social gatherings easier for your child. From one event to the next, always try to find the fun points or people that your child will connect with. The other reality is that your child will want to skip some parties or events. This is also okay. Forcing a child to be social without understanding why they don’t want to be will not help your relationship in the long run.
Take your time to run through possible solutions and reassure them that you will be there to help through it all.