Do you have a shy child? Is it ok to allow your child to be shy? And when should having a shy child be a concern? As parents, there are so many questions about how to raise a physically and mentally well-adjusted child. However, sometimes certain child behaviors can be a cause for concern.
Being shy is a normal child behavior and most young children will display a certain level of shyness when faced with new situations. Most children who are shy are actually born that way. And sometimes a child being shy could have been brought on by negative experiences. Regardless of the reason, you should try to work with your child’s shy personality rather than against it.
The Signs Of A Shy Child
- overly self-reliant
- doesn’t like trying new things
- slow to warm up to people
- takes a longer time to adjust to new situations
- avoids approaching others
How To Help Shy Child Through Various Situations And Events
Learning how to help a shy child is the first step in being able to teach them how to deal with the different types of situations they will find themselves in throughout each day. Properly teaching a child what to do when they get into uncomfortable or unfamiliar situations will help them become more socially well-adjusted and less likely to become a victim of bullying.
Shyness Around Strangers
When you come across someone you know who has never met your child, or someone you don’t know, but are having your first conversation with, hold off on introducing them to your child until after you have spent a few minutes talking with that person. Remember, you have spent a significant amount of time teaching your child not to talk to strangers. Therefore, he will of course be a little shy and unsure because that’s what you’ve taught him. After he sees you spending time talking with this new person, he will feel more confident that there is no reason to be afraid and may be less likely to feel intimidated and shy.
Always display outgoing behavior yourself when you are out with your shy child. Your behavior will show your child how to meet and greet people, how you talk with people and how to be friendly. This will also help your child model his behaviors after yours and make him feel more comfortable when he finds himself in similar situations.
Shyness In New Situations
We all get a little nervous when being faced with a new group of people we have never met. How to approach them, what to say and the worries about being rejected. This is normal and it’s no different for your children either. Therefore, you need to teach your child how to handle any new situation.
The first thing you should do is to give your child an entry strategy. Teach your child to listen and try to find a break in the conversation where he can join in. Help him with how to develop his own talking points after listening to the current conversation. Such as “I like _____ too” and how he can form his conversation around that.
Another example is visiting a playground where your child doesn’t know anyone. You can suggest that he go and ask some of the other kids if he can join in. If he won’t do that, then suggest he approach a smaller group of kids instead. Help your child find an opening. Mention that you see the other kids are playing with some toy trucks and that he could offer to allow them to play with his. This will help give him an easy way to break down any mental barriers and fear about how to go about joining in. And helping him see that with his toy he will easily be able to fit in. If he still hesitates, you can offer to go with him and make the introduction for him. This will give your child the opportunity to see how it’s done and will make it easier for him to do it himself the next time.
Role playing is the best way to help your child learn how to deal with any and all social situations whether they are good or bad. You child will have to learn how to properly handle himself when you are not around to help.
Make a list of as many different types of social situations you can think of that your child might encounter. And don’t forget to include anything that he may have to deal with at school – such as possible bullying scenarios. Then write down the proper way to handle each issue and role play every different situation so you can demonstrate to your child how he could respond. Just make sure you are making these role playing sessions fun and as natural as possible. Try to make it into a game. You don’t want your child to become fearful or worry about things in general.
How To Help Your Child Practice His Social Skills
Putting your child into situations where he can practice his social skill is the best way to help him over his shyness and help keep him from becoming a bullying victim. Children who are never taught how to properly handle themselves in social situations often become bullying victims. Because they don’t know what to say or do when confronted with an unpleasant situation. This allows them to be bullied because of their quiet nature.
Start as young in life as possible intentionally putting your child into different social situations and teach them how to handle themselves when confronted with different issues. The more you do this, the more confidence they will build, and eventually your child will be well versed in how to handle just about any social situation. Here are a few things you could do:
- have a birthday party
- go to a park where there are children he doesn’t know
- when meeting people, have him extend his hand and introduce himself
- when in a store, encourage him to ask the store clerk a question
- when in a restaurant, have him order his own meal then pay the cashier when you are finished
Feedback And Praise
When you see your shy child exhibiting encouraging behaviors like taking the initiative to say hi to someone, waving to someone or being the first to initiate a conversation, make sure you praise and / or reward him and let him know how proud you are. Always recognize the behaviors you want repeated. However, if your child was faced with a social situation that he didn’t handle appropriately, you can empathize with him and let him know that you realize he was feeling a little shy, then tell him a story of a time when you found yourself in an awkward situation and how you handled it. Now you should offer some suggestions of things he could try next time he is faced with a similar situation.
How Shy Is Too Shy
There is nothing wrong with being shy. In fact, shy children are usually great listeners and don’t get into much trouble at school. However, here are some of the signs that indicate you may need the help of a professional. If your child:
- is so shy he can’t function normally
- is sad or unhappy
- doesn’t want to or is afraid to go to school
- has trouble making friends
- makes himself sick worrying about having to go to a party or any other social event
- is overly self conscious about being shy
If your child is displaying any of the above behaviors, you may want to consider seeing a professional and having your child assessed. There may be other things you need to do to help your child lead a normal, socially well-balanced life.