Teaching a Child to Greet Others

Dear Dr. Rene

My child is almost 2 years old and she doesn’t always greet people she knows when she sees them. Sometimes she looks the other way as if they are not there or she shows that she doesnt want to greet them. I dont want to stress on that but I would like to somehow enforce positive social behavior nicely. I dont know why she does that.

Also every time I pick her up from the nursery she comes out doesn’t greet me and doesn’t answer me and just goes out. Its as if she wants to tell me not to think that I am doing her a favor by sending her there on the contrary.

She is also very jealous when I give my attention to other people or when I am working on my laptop. She often shuts it or tells me to put barney on or holds my head so that I look at her. I am scared that I might be doing something wrong. For example I was at my mothers and she has a french bulldog who was sleeping on my lap when it woke up I found her coming over trying to sleep in the exact same spot that it was sleeping in.

Thank you, Mitchell

Hi Mitchell,

The best way to teach her to greet people and encourage the behavior to happen more often is to model it yourself.  When she is with you greet people warmly, smile big and model language you would want her to use.  This teaches her without pressure.  Also, greet her directly often.  Greet her with a smile and “hello” whenever you enter the room.  When you do suggest she greet someone else, give her choices about how to do this.  You might offer that she smiles or waves, says “hello,” shakes hands or high-fives.  When she does greet someone nicely, provide descriptive praise.  This is along the lines of, “That was nice to say ‘hi’ to them!” or “You waved, that made Grandma happy!”

As long as she’s not very unhappy at your nursery pick-up, try to let this one go.  Often parents will get warm greetings the first few days or weeks of being at school.  Once children have settled in to the habit of school, the need for big greetings can subside.  This means they have created positive relationships with teachers and while they are happy to see parents it’s not the big relief that came before they were comfortable with such a separation.  This is normal.  if she is very unhappy at pick-up, write again with those details and I will answer.

That she seems jealous when you share your attention with others means she loves you and enjoys your attention herself.  When she tells you to shut the laptop or holds your head, at least validate her wants with your words.  You might say “I know you want to spend time together” and then either do spend time or follow with “I love you too and I have to finish my work right now.”

I hope this helps.

Sincerely, Dr. Rene

 

 

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Comments

  1. Stephanie says:

    Is it possible that my 6 year old is being messed with inappropriately? When he chews on his shirt and its sop and wet more then a typical chewing on the shirt is,it’s his way of dealing with it? Very nervous mom looking for advice.

    • There’s really little way of knowing from this limited amount of information. I would consider – has he chewed from before the stressor? Does he chew to self soothe? Does he seem to have other sensory issues? Is he easily redirected? Is he able to talk about the stressor itself? Does the chewing improve when he is away from those things? You might also take an appointment with an OT to get a better answer.

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