The simple truth about kids is that some are shy and some aren't, and you know, there's nothing wrong with either. However, when you're trying to get the entire rabble involved in the activities at your kids birthday party venue and there are one or two who are falling behind, it might not look like much fun for them.
Here at AMF, we are specialists in fun, and we like to see everyone enjoying our centres, whether it's a school holiday activity or a special occasion. Laser Tag is one such game, where the youngsters can dress up in awesome battle vests and charge around a darkened arena, shooting lasers at each other and spouting cool action movie one-liners.
If you see children who are reluctant to join in the battle, consider these tips for encouraging them gently.
Try setting them personal goals
You can't push a shy child into an unfamiliar situation and expect them to break out of their shell, but you can give them tasks to overcome on their own terms. This advice comes from the Victoria government's Better Health Channel, which recommends setting small, incremental goals to give the shy child a path to follow. This could start with something as simple as 'say "Hello" to another kid', and work its way up to 'Dart behind enemy lines to shoot their base'.
Give them a chance to wind up to it
When the game is on and everyone bursts into our laser arena screaming and shouting, shy children might stay behind to be with you. Education.com states that a kick in the butt isn't the way to go (though they didn't use those words exactly), as that might push them before they are ready. You need to give them small ways to get into the concept, which could be the goals we mentioned above, or offering your own stories of overcoming shyness as a child.
Expose them to new situations
In the buildup to Laser Tag and bowling fun at AMF, make sure you expose your child to many new situations.
"The more novelty she experiences early on, the more comfortable she'll be in a variety of situations," said Dr Bernardo J Carducci, director of the Shyness Research Institute at Indiana University Southeast, to Parents.com. Of course, this also applies to boys.
The next time you are organising birthday party games for kids, we hope these tips help make sure everyone has the most fun possible (as life should be, right?)!