Dec. 5, 2022

Ask Amy: My Child Is Slow to Warm Up With Adults

Does your child clam up when other adults try to have a conversation with them or even say hello? That's perfectly normal for young kids, but there are also ways you can help break the ice, as Amy explains.

If our kids seem standoffish at first when other adults try to engage them in conversation, parents may worry that such kids are missing essential social skills. This week a listener asks:

"I'd love ideas on how to get your child to engage in normal back-and-forth conversation with adults. My four-year-old won’t respond to extended family or other adults when they try to talk her her. No “Hello," no “Thank you”, etc.

If the adults engage in play with her, then she will be very chatty. But this morning she wouldn’t respond when her own father said ”Good morning."

This is probably totally age-appropriate, and she's a happy, well-adjusted kid, but she struggles with this. I’ve been trying to practice and prep her with how to respond before events, but that hasn’t made much progress."

Amy assures our listener that this behavior is both age-appropriate and worth having a discussion about. Put your child in the driver's seat with a little role play, practicing both initiating conversation and responding to prompts. And remember that it's totally okay if your kid takes a while to warm up to others - better giving them space than forcing them into uncomfortable social situations. There's plenty of time for the latter when they become adults.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Pampers:

For trusted protection, choose Pampers, the #1 Pediatrician Recommended Brand. Download the Pampers Club App today to start earning rewards with every diaper & wipes purchase.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit