Being the parent or teacher of a shy child is often very painful. As caregivers, we want to see our children and students blossom in social situations. It is difficult to watch a child struggle for acceptance and friendship. We must be proactive in the lives of shy children and make an effort to nurture their needs and encourage social interaction and opportunities. There are many ways that we can do this.
Firstly, encourage your child to interact with others. Sometimes even the briefest of encounters can prove to be a mild stepping stone.
Arrange for your child to help others learn a new skill, share abilities with peers, etc., in order to help him/her feel more comfortable when interacting with others. This is especially rewarding to the child when they know more about a topic or good at a certain sport, it makes them more open and comfortable in helping others.
Make those who are in contact with your child aware of your child’s shyness in order that they may help your child feel comfortable in new situations. By communicating your child’s special need, you can eliminate embarrassing or uncomfortable situations.
Get to know your child’s friends and their parents and maintain open communication with them.
Do not make meeting someone new threatening for your child. It is best not to make a big deal out of a new acquaintance. Introduce your child to the new situation and encourage your child to be part of conversations and games. Children may sometimes ignore these new opportunities if they are not properly encouraged.
Never make fun of your child when he/she acts in a shy manner or attempts to avoid new situations. This may promote fear, rejection, resentment and a sense of betrayal in your child.
Encourage your child to play with children who are younger and with whom he/she would be less likely to be shy with. Being the older child sometimes may help the child harness more confidence.
Encourage your child to try new things and to play with children who are outgoing.
Do not inadvertently reinforce the shyness by letting your child get out of doing certain things or partaking in social activities because he/she is afraid. You should always offer positive encouragement to help avoid your child backing out of social situations or avoid doing things.
Discuss your child’s schedule at the beginning of each day in order to prepare for the day and avoid any unecessary surprises.
Your home is a safe place where your child feels most comfortable, and you can take advantage of this by encouraging your child to have friends over to play. Eventually, your child will begin to feel comfortable enough to play at their friend’s house. Just be sure that these changes are gradual.
Make certain your child is old enough to be expected to greet new situations, peers, babysitters, and adults without demonstrating some fear of doing so.
Encourage your child to participate in new activities or partake in activities with a peer with whom they feel comfortable with, such as going on a trip to the zoo or attending a birthday party.
Be a model for your child by introducing yourself, conversing with others and meeting new people. Children are very aware of our interactions as adults and often mimic our motions.
Remember that encouraging your child never involves forcing them to interact with others. Always take into consideration that shyness is a special need for your child and cannot be forced. Remain patient and understanding through the process of learning social engagement.
Do not leave your child with someone with shom he/she does not feel comfortable. There is nothing more terrifying for a shy child than to feel helpless and alone.
Participate in new situations with your child when possible. Good examples involve being present when your child is learning a new skill such as dance or swim lessons.
Provide your child with opportunities to join clubs, participate in sports, volunteer to help others and be part of a team.
Above all, be there for your child. It is probable that you are the one person with whom your child feel safest and most comfortable with. Remember to offer up loving support and patient encouragement.