Parents can play a critical role in helping children moderate or overcome shyness and fearfulness. Labeling a child as “shy” can shape the child’s destiny from a young age. The best response to help children overcome their shyness and caution is to provide measured experiences to help children explore the world safely in order to gain confidence and feel supported through gentle coaching.
A few tips for parents and caregivers on how to help shy children:
- Nurture your child by noticing her needs and responding to them.
- Encourage playdates, either at your house or a friend’s house. If your child is invited to a friend’s house, he might feel more comfortable if you go with him at first. You could gradually reduce the time you spend with him at other people’s houses.
- Practice show-and-tell or class presentations with your child at home. This will help your child feel more comfortable when she must stand up in front of her class.
- Encourage your child to do some extracurricular activities. Try to find the ones that encourage social behavior – for example, Scouts, Girl Guides or sports.
- Coach your child to express her needs and stand up for herself in social situations.
- Empathize with your child’s worries and avoid shaming him.
- Avoid negative comparisons with more confident siblings or friends.
- Help to build your child’s self-esteem by encouraging even small steps towards being less shy.
Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.
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