More and more we are seeing children who just don’t reply when they are spoken to. (In fact, I have a daughter who occasionally falls into this category!) Shyness may be an excuse, but really it is not okay to be still when you are spoken to! Even for the young. What’s a mother to do?
First course of action is to do some training. This can be plenty of fun. Bring a few hats for props and some name tags to dress up your kids. “Mrs. Jones” can wear the flowered hat and “Mr. Jones” can wear a baseball cap, for example. Now, take turns having “Mr. Jones” introduce his “wife” to one of your family. Role play it first, so they know just what is expected. Then switch around and let everyone have a turn.
Wait a minute, though. Just what is expected?
*sustained eye contact
*some polite words of acknowledgment (such as how do you do?, nice to meet you, hello, I’m glad to meet you, I’ve heard good things about you, you have a daughter my age, right? etc.)
*a mildly firm handshake
When making introductions, always speak the name of the older person first. If you can give some info, it will help the conversation go easier. If you have mutual friends or hobbies, include them. If you mention how you know each other, it gives people some base from which to talk.
Here’s some silly scripts to play around with. You can type up your own and role play them, having older children (or parents) whisper their parts to them. Practice makes perfect!
Mr. Jones: Wifey, dear, I’d like to introduce you to Susie-Q.
Mrs. Jones: Oh, hello my cute-sy little angel.
Susie-Q: I am very glad to meet you!
Mr. Jones: Susie-Q and I both go to the same library.
Mrs. Jones: Well, reading is quite a delightful pastime! Have you read Charlotte’s Web?
Billy: Mr. Smith, I’d like you to meet my mother. Mother, this is Mr. Jones, my choir teacher.
Mommy: I’ve heard good things about you, Mr. Jones.
Mr. Jones: The pleasure is all mine.
Mommy: It must be wonderful listening to all these little darlings sing!
Daddy: Mr. President, I’d like to introduce my daughter Scrambled Eggs.
Mr. President: I’m happy to meet such a sunshiney little girl with such a unique name!
Scrambled Eggs: Hello. I voted for you!
Mr. President: What a charming little nut-kin.
Once you feel like you have practiced to perfection, go to someplace where you can make introductions and watch your children shine! Politeness is always in style!
May I recommend: