Parents and teachers should NOT force a child into uncomfortable situations. Do not make Sara read her book report in front of the whole class if it will literally make her squirm. Do not ask Aaron to organize a class trip if it will lead to embarrassing and potentially disastrous situations. Do not force these kids to become social butterflies before they are ready for it. Even with the proper help, it just won’t happen overnight.
Instead, allow these children some well deserved down time. Let them read, play quietly, or entertain themselves. Social situations can be highly stressful for them and deep down they crave a little down time and quiet solitude, which can do wonders to relieve the stress. Allow them to sit on the porch with a good book or to become involved in a healthy hobby that makes them feel good about themselves. Remember — it can be a cruel world out there. Give these children the right to enjoy some safety in solitude for a while. It will help prepare them to encounter the next day at school.
An acclaimed educator and education consultant, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.