The "please and thank you" thread got me thinking about this. My DD is nearly 3 and very shy around others. It takesher a long time to warm up to a situation, even when she knows the people well. She rarely initiates conversation with anyone other than myself, DH and her grandparents.
We go to a regular playgroup and the other moms are very insistent that their kids all greet each other with hello, say please, thank you, sorry, and goodbye. Their kids are all pretty good about it. I do encourage DD to especially say hello and goodbye (she's pretty good with please and thank you when reminded), but she's so shy that she just clings to me. She usually won't even say hello or goodbye to her grandparents or DH.
Is this normal for her age and is anything to do about it other than just encourage her and be patient?
I'm also very torn on the idea of preschool for the fall, wondering if the time away from me with other kids will help her overcome some of her shyness or make it worse. Any ideas?
I just always spoke for them/us. "We're so glad to see you!" "Hi, how are you doing? We're glad to be here." I still do it with DD, who at 4-1/2 is not by her own nature into social niceties, nor naturally polite despite 4-1/2 years of modeling and encouraging. I talk more with her about the whys behind politeness and social graces, but in the end if she doesn't do it, I'll do it for her, and then talk about it with her afterwards.
As for preschool, a LOT can change in 9 months. If you would ahve told me when DD was just 3 that she would be bounding into the classroom and one of the "best helpers" in class, I would ahve laughed in your face. It all just happened and clicked with her in this past year. The first year in preschool last year, she had a few weeks where dropoffs were a little hinky but I stuck around a few times and peeked in on her and as soon as I was really gone within a minute she was fine and playing, despite clinging to me when I brought her in the room. Now she barely looks back to blow me a kiss when she runs down the ramp into her PreK room. This is the same girl who had severe separation anxiety and the first time I ever left her with anyone was when she was 18 months old and I left her with DH so I could go to a concert. Sometimes, things just click and you never know when they will or why.
I truly like to believe that social graces come in time when they are ready. DS1 is only 2.5 so I'm not there yet. Here is how I look at it.
I won't make him say Sorry at any time untill he understands the meaning of it, and he means what he says. Same goes for other niceties. I may speak for him in certain circumstances when it's critical, mostly I let it go though. Once he is older, reasoning and has a certain level of emotional maturity it might be different and less torture. Everything else will come in time given there is modeling and explaining.
I used to believe that too, until I had my daughter.
My firstborn picked up on manners very easily just by modeling and by 2-1/2 was gracious and polite unprompted, very rarely needing to be reminded. So that was what I had to work from when my second was born. Despite 4-1/2 years of modeling and encouraging and discussing, I'd say at least 50% (more like 75%) of the time her instinct is to not be polite (and I'm not talking about a rote "please", I'm talking about the tone and content). Thinking about her personality in other ways, I think there are a couple reasons for it: she doesn't like being put "on the spot" and is shy (which comes out as "angry badger" more than "hiding behind mom's leg" in her case), and she still is very impulsive for her age. One would think that after 4-1/2 years of having kindness modeled, being gently reminded to rephrase and not to speak to people that way she would catch on, but alas we still have to remind her at least 50% (again, more like 75%) of the time to speak politely (to random strangers, friends, us). It's still a process. And frankly, it's emotionally exhausting for me because I come from a family of origin of excruciatingly polite people. It has taken a LOT for me to not "force" her to have manners, believe me.
My DD is really great at saying please, thank you and goodbye, but there are times when she is grumpy or just really not into being 'nice'. I usually accept it. Especially with family, I really encourage them to accept her feelings. It is not her fault that I am bringing her places and just allow her to deal with every situation on her own. It can be great to be around other kids, they model acceptable behavior and for my DD is made it normal, at least from my position.