It was yet another meltdown evening for Sheena as she narrated an episode created by her 4-year-old son, Reyan, who accompanied her to an office party. As they arrived at the venue, Reyan was greeted and caressed by several of Sheena’s colleagues.
Reyan who is well known to be a shy child, has always preferred limited exposure to people. On finding himself surrounded by unfamiliar faces he began expressing his discomfort by crying out-loud and clinging to his mother wanting to return home.
Each child exhibits his/her unique temperament (way of interacting with the world) and shyness is also one of these. While some children are effortlessly social and interact with people with ease, some hold back and are hesitant/take time to do so. It is extremely important for parents to know, there is nothing wrong with being a shy child.
A shy, or child that takes a little time to warm up, might not be so outgoing and prefers to be on his/her own. What we need to know is that a little understanding conscious effort and support is all that is needed to help your child overcome his/her shyness and become confident and comfortable with social interactions.
Let your child take his/her time to understand any new surrounding/people. Let them first be amidst a few familiar faces and gradually introduce them to new faces in a soft and reassuring voice. If others describe him/her as shy for not immediately interacting, correct them politely, example – ‘she’s not shy, she’ll just get comfortable in a while and join in’.
2. LITTLE THINGS THAT MATTER
Model confidence and social behaviour in your child’s presence so he/she can watch and learn. Comfort your child, yet, avoid over comforting as this gives him/her a signal that something’s not right.
3. FOSTER SELF-ESTEEM
Most children tend to be shy because they lack confidence in themselves. Praise your child’s interactions by appreciating their little efforts (Example: it was really nice of you to greet aunt Rachel).
4. ENCOURAGE SOCIALIZATION
Fix a play date/take your child to play zones where he/she is exposed to new children and new settings. Give your child enough time to feel comfortable and interact with other children and adults.
5. AVOID NEGATIVE COMPARISONS
When your child singles out himself in a gathering unlike other children; do not feel apologetic or push him/her to do something out of his will. Try to provide him/her a positive environment which lets his/her social personality develop naturally.
As a parent, you must always try to be calm and understanding while raising a shy child. Also, be mindful of what you speak of them in their presence. With positive nurturing and sustained efforts your shy little one too will emerge as a confident & outspoken child.