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Is your child shy?

dealing with shyness

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Is your child shy? Are you worried about them developing friendships with other children? We all hope that our children grow to become confident, happy and successful in life, but sometimes when we have a child who is shy, it can cause them to miss out on opportunities and experiences in childhood and lead on to insecurities in later life. Shyness isn’t something to be brushed off as a phase or silliness, in extreme cases it can be debilitating and lead to social exclusion and bullying, so take your child’s shyness seriously and work with them to help them overcome it.

What makes them shy?

Look at the situations which make your child; is it in new surroundings, chaotic kids’ parties, meeting new people, talking in front of the class or all the time? Identify the situations that cause the shyness and then start to work on ways to overcome it. If your child tends to be shy in more social situations, lead by example, be friendly to people you engage with throughout the day, talking to a shop assistants and saying hello to neighbours.

Ask your child what they would like to feel more confident doing and then do these things in front of them. It might be making a phone call or ordering food in a restaurant, but by giving your child a positive outcome from the experience they fear, it can start to break down obstacles holding them back.

Overcome shyness together

You may want to attend a social skills or confidence building course, taking your child if possible. If not, pass on your new knowledge and let them know that even adults can be shy and get nervous. If you are shy yourself, this is a great excuse to tackle the problem while passing on your skills to your child. You might want to practice new social skills such as greeting new people or visitors, handshakes, introducing yourself, setting the table correctly and starting conversations at home.is your child shy

Even these small steps in the safety of their home environment can boost confidence and improve social skills. You should never embarrass your child or belittle them, criticise their mistakes, make fun of people in public or cross the street if you yourself are nervous about seeing someone yourself.

Build confidence early

The best way to tackle shyness is by instilling confidence from a young age, helping them interact with other children and adults in different social situations. Arrange play dates with other children and look for local playgroups or parent and toddler sessions so that your child can start to feel confident in social situations as soon as possible. You can even make up games for all the family at home or out and about, giving marks for correct greetings and introductions, answering the phone, ordering food in a restaurant and making conversation over dinner. Make it fun so they don’t feel they are being ‘taught’ and it will become part of their everyday behaviour.

Failure can be a positive

If your child is shy through a fear of failure, teach them that failure is part of developing and should be seen as a positive not negative. Sometimes when we fail at something first time round, it teaches us how to do it better the next time. The best inventions in the world weren’t created on the first attempt, the final product is probably the result of hundreds if not thousands of attempts and if those inventors stopped after the first go, we wouldn’t have all the technology we have today. Letting them know that trying is all part of the process will help give them confidence to keep going and instil in them the notion that trying is just as important as succeeding.

Find something they’re good at

You can help build their confidence by focusing on the things they are good at building on those. If they are gifted at playing an instrument encourage that. They might have dreams of joining a band and rocking all over the world, so if shyness is holding them back, start with some private lessons so they are armed with the knowledge that they are really good, before moving to the next stage. If they are sporty, encouraging them to kick a ball around in the garden first will help them to move onto joining the school football team. While is may seem a lonely exercise at first, you are laying the foundations for a confident transition.

Encourage and reward

You should never stop comforting your child or force them into situations they aren’t comfortable with. Always reward and encourage any efforts they make and work with them and help them find their own solutions to problems. Let them know the emotions they are feeling are normal and can be overcome and together you can empower your child and give them the confidence to carry them through to adulthood.





About Rebecca Robinson

About Rebecca Robinson

After spending the last 8 years juggling life as a mum of two, wife and working full time as a Project Manager for a global telecommunications company, Rebecca Robinson made the decision to follow her love of writing and took the plunge; turning her passion into a full time career. Since becoming a full time writer, Rebecca has worked with various media and copy-writing companies and with the ability to make any topic relevant and interesting to the reader, now contributes to The Working Parent on articles ranging from credit cards to teenage relationships. Ever the optimist, Rebecca's dreams for the future include a house in the country filled with children, dogs and horses in the field!

Website: Rebecca Robinson

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