How Do I know if My Child is Shy?

Posted by in No-Cry Separation Anxiety

Do your think that your child is shy? Maybe . . . but maybe not. The actions we perceive as shyness are sometimes a sign of something entirely different.

Some children are slow to open up and they need more time to warm up to a group or a new peer. Some kids just don’t have enough practice in social situations to feel comfortable. Some are tentative about all new situations. And some are, yes, shy.

Most of these situations can be overcome though practice and encouragement. Here are some ideas to help your child be more comfortable making new friends.

Rowan, 2 yrs old

Rowan, 2 yrs old

Create a safe environment: Invite one child to your home for a play date. In the comfort of her own home, your child will usually feel more comfortable and get to know other children easier. She can then transfer that comfort to other social settings.

Help your child get settled in:
Play alongside your child until she feels comfortable and interacts with another child. Gradually move away from them, but stay close enough for your child to still see you.

Pick a team: Sign your child up fora team activity, such as swimming, gymnastics, or a sports team. After the initial adjustment, the experience will build your child’s confidence in group settings.

Don’t push – be patient: Allow a child to watch other children for a while before joining in. Some kids need to scope out the situation and absorb what’s happening before they participate. Pushing a child to get involved before she’s ready will make her more uncomfortable.

Abigail and Valerie,  4 yrs old

Abigail and Valerie, 4 yrs old

Be a social coach:
Teach your child specific approaches to use when she meets new kids. Practice these at home in a role-play situation. Once she has successfully used her new skills she will be more likely to try them again.

Observe and relax: Some children are comfortable and content in their quiet way of interacting with the world. They have one or two good friends, are doing well in school, and are happy and self-confident. Make sure you aren’t assuming a problem where one doesn’t really exist!

Get help if you need it: If your child is suffering from shyness, and it is affecting her ability to make friends, spending time with a professional counselor or therapist can help. A school counselor may be a good source of help.

Alyssa and Mikaela

Alyssa and Mikaela

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