Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Tips For: How to Handle a Withdrawn Child

As a teacher, I am sure you have had a child who was withdrawn and kept to themselves, no matter how hard you tried to encourage them to participate with their classmates.


A Withdrawn child may spend most of their time on their own, reading in the book nook or playing in a corner on the playground.  They may totally ignore attempts by fellow students to include them in a game and may even turn to face the opposite direction.  The result in this is that students give up and leave the 'withdrawn' child to their own accord.

You might not know where to begin with this child if your encouragement has no effect.  Firstly, ask yourself "Why are they withdrawing?"  Here are a few points to consider:

Why are they withdrawing?

  • It may be their personality.  Shy and introvert children enjoy their own company and/or may not have the confidence to play with others.  They may find it easier to be on their own rather than meeting new people.
  • Social Skills:  Has this child been exposed to social situations and how to act appropriately with others?  Do they know how to make friends and communicate with children their own age?  
  • Attention:  Does this child get special attention for this behavior at home or at school, resulting in the behavior increasing?
  • Language barrier:  Is there a language barrier?  How developed is their speech and vocabulary? Why would speech and vocabulary be under developed?
  • Other emotional problems:  There may be other indicating factors, such as problems at home, or at school, which may cause withdrawal.

Tips to Handle a Withdrawn Child:

  • Encourage a hearing and/or speech assessment should there be indications that an impairment is present.
  • Determine home behavior by chatting to parents.  How do the parents react to the behavior?  Also monitor the home situation.
  • Avoid pressurizing interaction.  Gentle encouragement is recommended but do not force the situation.
  • Implement a Buddy System.  Assigning Buddies to the students in your class, is a not-so-obvious way of giving your withdrawn child a special friend to complete activities with.  They will slowly build a relationship.
  • Offer a lot of praise for interaction.
  • Create situations where students are playing alongside one another, for example, building blocks.  This will put the child in a position where they are indirectly interacting with others.  Slowly introduce situations where co-operation is required.
  • Seek professional help if you are concerned of a serious underlying (emotional, physical or developmental) problem.

Graphics: A Little Peace of Africa

I hope you have found these tips useful!

Do you have any tips which you can add to the list?  I would love to hear about them - so feel free to leave them in the comments' section.

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