Dear Mrs. McVeigh,
My children do not do well when they have to meet or greet adults. They either act shy and awkward. Do you have any tips on how to get kids to be better in these types of situations?
This continues to be one of the biggest concerns that I hear from parents. I actually now have a whole speech on this topic. Here are some tips that I give to parents:
Explain small talk to your children – Tell them to look around his environment to find questions to ask people, and topics to discuss. Small talk topics can include the weather, upcoming seasonal events, and sports.
Role-play meeting or greeting people. Emphasize the hand shake, eye contact, and articulation.
Role-play before you are in a situation with an adult. Have a pretend conversation, and give your child possible talking points. Also make sure he knows if the adults should be addressed as Mr./Mrs./Ms./Dr., etc…
Notice your child’s body language, verbiage, and any unique or noticeable mannerisms. Work with him on anything that is socially awkward, or distracting to others.
Practice makes perfect. Keep on role-playing and talking to your child about his communication skills.