Seeing any young child too shy to join playtime with other kids can be heartbreaking. If your child is on the shy side, these tips will help you help them become less so.
Does your child have no friends because he or she is painfully shy? Do they hide behind you in social situations? While many kids grow out shyness, as their parent, you would be smart to work on improving your child’s issue with shyness before it holds them back. Here are some ways you can help them break out of their shell at a young age.
Arrange play dates
The more opportunities your child has to practice his or her social skills, the better. It may be easier on your shy child if you arrange play dates that have a specific activity planned rather than just put the two kids together and tell them to play; that way the focus can be on the structured activity. Depending on your child’s specific shyness issues, he or she may have an easier time being less shy in the company of just one child rather than in a classroom full of kids.
Coach your child
Use every opportunity at home to teach your child social skills, ones they can put into practice with family members. Once it becomes second nature for them to look relatives in the eye, smile and say hello, they’re one step closer to being able to do the same with kids their own age, and then with the waitress, the cashier and other people they encounter when with you.
Be a good role model
You may not realize it, but your child absorbs much of your own behaviour. So when you don’t look the bank teller in the eye, avoid small talk and act nervously at the neighbourhood party because of your own shyness issues, they pick up on these cues. So work on your own shyness while you’re at it, and set a good example for your child in the process.
Build your child’s confidence through an activity
Encourage your child to further develop a skill they have a talent for and an interest in. Sign them up for classes, and make time for them to pursue it when at home. Becoming more confident with respect to this one area is a self-esteem booster, which may lead to less shyness in social situations.