You might notice this month that your child is willing to separate from you and go initiate social interaction if he/she has not done so already! They are becoming more mobile – some even walking. With that increased mobility comes increased curiosity. Some children can of course be more reserved. Everyone is different! If you find that your child is hesitant to go near other people try some of these tricks below…
1) Take them around more children. You can try heading to the playground, local storytimes, playspaces, or even sign them up for classes! The more opportunities they have the more likely they are to initiate social interaction.
2) Engage in parallel play with them. Play next to other children while standing behind them to guide your child. At this age children are not going to play together, but will engage in what is called parallel play, which is side-by-side play.
3) Model appropriate social interaction. This is of course natural to us, but you may want to, for example, use an exaggerated tone when you say hi to others and wave your hand while doing so to show your child how to greet.
4) Physically prompt your child. Let’s say they’re playing basketball you can have your child initiate social interaction by handing over a ball to another child. You can even show them how to gently tap someone to get their attention. There are so many possibilities!