Tips for Helping a Shy Child
24th October 2014
Scientists believe that social interaction is the most important thing when it comes to humans living a healthy and happy life. If you suspect that your child may be lacking in confidence, then it is important to deal with it now, as if left alone, it could potentially hold them back when it comes to getting on in life, for instance meeting new people, starting new jobs, etc.
The first stage in helping your child deal with their shyness is recognising the common traits. Once they have been recognised, there are certain ways you can support your child. The team at Tiny World are going to share some tips that will hopefully help them overcome their shyness in a manageable and realistic way.
What does being shy mean?
There are varying degrees of ‘shyness’ but the main types of shyness tend to be:
- Highly sensitive and a little too aware of their surrounding environment.
- The introverted type who spends a lot of time of their own. They can become too accustomed to this and end up spending more time on their own than with others.
- Those who want to socialise with others, but feel awkward and anxious in these situations.
How do I support my child?
Start with the basics
Knowing how to interact with others and having the confidence to do so is something that has to be learnt, and there are many fun ways to help your child get to grips with these. Role play in the home can be a great opportunity to practice smiling to one another, shaking hands and making eye contact. You can have fun, dress up and be a bit silly with this, as long as your child understands the reason behind doing it.
Teach them strategies
Even as adults, we know that making the first move is the hardest part of interacting in new social situations and with new people, so help your child with starting points. This could be as simple as saying “I like that too”, as a gateway into joining a conversation, or giving someone a compliment.
Your child will naturally learn how to do this by picking up on how you act in these scenarios. Therefore, always try and be friendly and welcoming to others, introduce yourself to new people if the chance is there, and remember to always be polite.
Never label them as ‘shy’
As soon as a child hear someone call them shy, it is incredibly hard to forget and shake off the label. You should never call your own child shy either. Instead you should face your child’s fears together, with them. Remind them of previous times when they have felt nervous or scared before an event or a party, but then put emphasis on how everything worked out just fine and they ended up having lots of fun!
Help them stand up for themselves
Part of a child’s anxiety could be the fear of something bad happening when their parents are not there, so teaching them to stand up for themselves (in the right way) is important. Again, this could be done using role play or reading books where a similar situation is happening. This gives you the chance to ask your child, “what would you do if this happened to you?”
Give them the chance
Make sure you expose your child to social situations, giving them the opportunity to practice what you have tried to instil in them. This could be inviting friends and their children round for dinner, so the children can play together. This is a good starting point as it is in your child’s comfort zone, in their own home. Gradually, you can build this up, for instance your child could order their own meal in a restaurant if they feel confident enough.
Don’t be hard on them
The ‘tough love’ approach is rather old fashioned and doesn’t prove to be supportive, especially to a young child who already has self-esteem issues. Make sure you never tell them to “stop being silly” or to “snap out of it”, as this will only make them feel worse.
For extra support and help with your child’s development, Tiny World Day Nurseries are here to help. Our trained team of staff understand the trials and tribulations of growing up and the inner challenges some children may face and offer the right support and guidance. So if you’re looking for a nursery around Basford and Nottingham, please do not hesitate to contact Tiny World.