Kids (4-12)

5 Ways to Help Your Shy Child


What do Beyoncé, Barbra Streisand and Martina McBride have in common, other than being performers?  They were all shy children.  Many moms see shyness as a negative, but shy, introverted children don’t necessarily have something wrong with them; as long as they also have self-confidence and the ability to interact with others.  If they don’t, here are 5 Things You Can Do to Help Your Shy Child.

1. Love them as they are. Shy children need to feel loved just as they are.  If they feel like something is wrong with them, they’ll retreat even more into their shyness.  So, even as you work on opportunities for them to grow beyond their shyness, embrace them now.

2. Don’t label them. How many times have you seen a shy child listen in as their mother tells someone, “She’s just shy”?  Shyness doesn’t define your child.  Yes, shyness may be a personality trait, but it’s not their defining characteristic.  Pick out other strong, positive qualities in your child and focus on those instead. If someone else comments on your child being shy, try to put a positive spin on it:  “Yes, she’s a really good listener and so observant.”  Or, respond with, “Yes, he is reserved.”

3. Don’t push too hard. It’s easy to think the “sink or swim” method is the best way to help your child overcome shyness.  But, if you’re always trying to get your child to snap out of his shyness, he could fail and then become even more shy.

4. Help them grow. Instead of pushing, give your child safe settings in which to grow.  Invite over a friend your child is comfortable with.  If he needs help learning how to make friends, these simple steps can help. Beyond those, encourage him to make eye contact when he talks with others.  Suggest that he say hi to two people today.  Little steps work well with the shy child.

5. Don’t speak for them. You may want to “rescue” your shy child for answering for them or expressing the feelings you think they have.  Shy children tend to need more time to gather their thoughts and summon up the courage to speak.  So, wait patiently and encourage them by smiling, and staying quiet.

 

Related Resource: 10 Ways to Raise Confident Kids

© 2011 iMOM. All Rights Reserved. Family First, All Pro Dad, iMOM, and Family Minute with Mark Merrill are registered trademarks.



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