|photo credits: 1000reasonstosmile.com|
Children have different temperaments – some are friendly and outgoing, some are just watchful and shy, while some bounce back and forth between the two. Kid’s shyness in general is not a problem. Sometimes we may be confused with our children freezing up when confronted with questions by other people. It is said to be considered normal, reflecting a kid’s innate style.
However, according to studies shyness becomes a problem when it becomes so powerful that it prevents the child from making friends or participating in social activities away from home such as in school or going to birthday parties. Teaching social skills, exposing them to various social situations will help the kid reduce his shyness and increase self-confidence, yet do not expect changes overnight.
Forcing a child to mingle and socialize will only create fear, we need to understand their behavior and help them overcome shyness through gaining experience in interacting with others. Instead of sending your shy toddler the message that something is wrong with him because he does not act accordingly to your expectations, accept his shyness as part of his unique temperament.
What to do?
Encourage him to make a comment during conversations and pay him a compliment for what he just said. Let him participate in family conversations too.
When a child feels he can make mistakes without being blamed or shamed he can more easily give up his shy ways, just like for instance he unintentionally spilled his milk, tell him it happens and clean it up together.
Be a role model. Give your child plenty of opportunities to watch you interact with people in social situations. Teach him what to say and how to answer when people ask questions like – How are you?
Practice responding to questions with your kid several times each day. Questions like - What is your name, How old are you? How are you? And so on.
Encourage him to join games in birthday parties and participate in his class activities and programs.
Accompany your child to playgrounds and let him play with other kids.
Enroll your kid in summer activities or seminars according to his interest. Register him in an art class, sports clinic, dancing or other workshops where he could interact and mingle with other kids.
Talk to his class adviser or teacher regarding his school behavior; ask for the teacher’s assistance in dealing with your kid’s shyness.
Do not embarrass nor reprimand him in front of his peers, classmates or playmates.
The occurrence of shyness among children increases with age so the earlier we begin teaching them social skills the better.