Communicating with shy children can be challenging at times as you do your best to learn the best ways to interact with them. Obviously, you don’t want them to retreat further into their shyness, but at the same time, you want to do what you can to make them feel comfortable and encourage them to participate.
One way in which you can go about communicating with shy children is through the use of games. There are some games that work as those natural ice-breakers helping to bring down those walls, form trust, and allow the child to start to communicate with you. Here’s a look at a variety of great games you can use that will help to win over that shy child in your life.
Bingo – A Classic but a Great One
When it comes to games that encourage children to speak up and start to forget about their shyness, bingo is a fabulous option. You can go with the traditional form of bingo or if you’re playing with a young child/toddler you can put a different twist on it.
Rather than calling numbers and letters, you can look for a bingo game that uses shapes, colors, animals, objects, and anything else that may appeal to a toddler. You’ll then have the chance to communicate with them while providing an educational experience.
Bingo is one of those games that you can start to play with children at a very young age and then you just make changes so that it works for their age group. As well, it has been shown to help with sharpening people’s memory and concentration skills, which are excellent skills to be teaching a child. You can use the board game version with the cards and markers, look for an interactive bingo app, or even play bingo online at a place like Sun Bingo.
I Spy and Find a Person Games
This game requires absolutely no tools, game pieces, or equipment. It can be played anywhere – in the classroom, at home, on a car trip, etc. What’s so great about this game is that it shifts the focus off speaking and communicating, kids will be busy playing the game and not realize they are actually talking and communicating.
The way this one works is that an adult can start by saying “I spy . . . ” then you fill in the blanks such as “I spy a person who is wearing a blue shirt”. The child then must look around the room to find that person.
If you are playing this game in the classroom or at home you can use the “find a person” method instead. Here you will tell the group of children, or just one child to “go find the person who has red shoes on” and all the kids will need to go stand with that person. It works as a wonderful icebreaker and kids will start to relax and even communicate with each other.
My Favorite Things
This particular game works best in a classroom setting or where you have a group of children who are very shy. Typically, this one is ideal for kids ages five and older. Think first day/week of school as a way to encourage kids to communicate with you and each other.
For this game, you will need a few items, which are crayons and pencil crayons (in a variety of colors), a piece of paper for each child who is playing the game, and then you will need to divide each of those pieces of paper into four different sections. Hand a piece of paper out to each child and have them draw their “favorite” in each box. You can ask for their favorite animal, food, person, toy, movie, song, whatever you like.
Once they have finished their drawings you can have everyone sit in a circle and hold up their creations. The child may be a bit too shy to talk about their favorites, so you can jump in and help.
Part of encouraging a shy child to communicate is learning how to be creative in a way that works for that child. You never want to force them into speaking and sharing, instead, it’s best to allow them to come around on their own and build up their confidence.