Helping a Shy Child Socialize
How often have you seen your child hide behind you or run away when you introduce him to guests? Pre-school children are often shy when confronted with people they don’t know. How can you help him overcome his shyness and be well-mannered around adults?
Many children are naturally shy and our psychologists at the day care always insist that we should not pressure shy children to respond to people if it can cause them anxiety. What you can do to help your child out is be a part of the conversation. If someone for example, comments on your child’s pretty dress, you could chime in by saying ‘Thank you, we had picked this up on our last shopping trip’ and then turn to your child and ask her to remind you where it was bought. This indirect inclusion in a conversation often helps shy children because they are addressing you and not the stranger.
If you are going to attend a party with many people, some who your child knows and others whom she may not, it is a good idea to prepare her in advance. Sit her down and tell her exactly where you are going and who she is going to meet over there. Include names of people she knows and people she does not. Tell her the kind of questions she may be asked and practice answering them. Surprisingly, this technique works very well with young children simply because they know what to expect. Throwing something unexpected at them gets their anxiety levels up.
Whatever you do, never ever label your child as ‘shy’ in front of others. These labels will only make her even more shy and even more anxious and even more embarrassed. You want to boost her self-esteem, not destroy it. Come up with ways on how you can make her more comfortable. These things get better with time and age. As children start going to school and make more friends, shyness slowly starts to disappear too.