Ideas to Help Shy Children.
Being a shy child is not easy. Time and experience can help most children overcome their shyness. But there are a number of things you can do to help your shy child now.
1. Help them find an outside activity.
Whether it is sports, drama, music or the scouts, having a group of friends that is outside of school can be very beneficial to shy children, especially if they join a group that matches their interests and passions. As they do well, their confidence and self esteem increases – and this all will flow over to the class room.
Outside activities also give your child a different environment to develop social skills. Being around other kids that share their same interests means they are likely to have an easier time making friends.
2. Give them space and time.
Shy children often need time to warm to the situation and feel comfortable. They may cling to you or hide behind your leg when new people approach. Don’t worry about this give them the space to adjust to new situations and people. I have witnessed shy children who cling to their mother then slowly get down and join the group. Some may take several visits to feel this comfortable. Other may not be ready now and it may be wise to wait a few weeks before trying again. Some children need more time than others and there is nothing wrong with needing more or less time.
However, I believe it is important to teach children to say hello. Shyness is fine, but rudeness is not. I don’t believe in pushing children into situations they don’t feel comfortable with, but with you by their side they should be able to manage a polite “hello” and later “goodbye”.
3. Remind them that shyness is ok and there is nothing wrong with them.
Shyness can be lonely at times, and it can be easy to feel like there is something wrong with you. If you were a shy child it can be helpful to tell them how you were at school and how you overcame shyness as you grew older. If you weren’t shy as a child, do you know someone who was – another family member or friend? Your child might like to talk with them, or otherwise you can pass on the story. Knowing that shyness is common and can be overcome can be very helpful.
4. Talk to the teacher and your child.
Try talking with your child’s teacher. Depending on the age of your child, I would ask your child first if this is ok. Older children may prefer you don’t talk with them.
Ask your child if there is anything that could help. I know for myself, that not being called on in class helped a lot. I was able to concentrate rather than worry about being called on. After leaving school I overcome a great deal of my shyness, enough so to start a debate in a collage paper.
Talking to the teacher can give you a good understanding of what is going on at school. If the teacher is aware that your child is shy, they will be able to help by encouraging your child to join a group but understand when they don’t participate in class discussions.
5. Be the child’s safe place.
Regardless of all that happens in your child’s day let your home be their safe place. Don’t push your child into situation they find uncomfortable. Encourage them to join in, but be their support until they feel comfortable. Be careful that your child is not negatively compared to other children and be careful of labelling your child shy. I know this post uses the phrase ‘shy child’, but I would be weary of referring to your child as “the shy child”, mostly because there are negative connotations associated with being shy.
Posted: November 19th, 2007 under Shy Children.