Not all kids are outgoing, extroverted and fun loving. Some of them are reserved, introverted and prefer to interact with their environment at their own pace. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Being shy doesn’t mean that your little one is anti-social. It just means that they are a little timid, sensitive, self conscious and might get intimidated easily. Every child is different and even shyness can be expressed in many ways. However, the American Psychological Association says, shyness means a person feels awkward, worried, or tense when interacting in social situations, particularly if they are in new situations or around strangers. Shyness can also cause obvious physical reactions like sweating excessively, blushing and feeling the heart pound. It can even cause some kids to feel sick to their stomachs due to the negative thoughts in their mind. But there are some ways in which you can embrace them and make them feel better in situations that they find daunting. Read on to know them all.
How To Tell If Your Child Is Shy
There are a couple of things that can give your little one away. Maybe they want to avoid places because they feel shy and uncomfortable in that environment. If they show signs of anxiety in social spaces like parks, child care centers, school and other places that kids usually thrive in, you know they are reserved. If they express to you that they are lonely but still don’t know how to approach kids in order to play with them and avoid speaking in public, you’ve got a shy kid on your hands.
Tips To Embrace And Help Your Shy Child
1. Don’t Label Them As Shy
Labels stick to kids as they grow up because they use these words to help identify and understand themselves. So, constantly telling your child that they are shy will not help them grow out of it. In fact, it may just make it worse. They could lose the self confidence they still have, or become even more recluse in order to fit into this mold. If it’s someone other than yourself calling your child shy, you can gently correct them by letting them know that your child just needs a little time to warm up with new people or a new environment. Let your child know that it is okay to feel overwhelmed in a new space. Make sure that they take their time and don’t feel rushed to interact with their surroundings before they are ready to. This will help your child feel acknowledged and normal. They will know that it’s okay to take their time and won’t count it as a flaw.
2. Work With Their Interests
Find out what your child naturally gravitates towards and what they are most interested in. If they love to explore and play in the park, try going when there are kids around. If they enjoy playing a sport or an instrument, try enrolling them in classes with other kids. This will give them the chance to interact with their peers in an ideal environment. Liking what they are doing can translate to liking other kids around them. And slowly they will start to come out of their shell. Making sure that they are having fun in a social situation doesn’t have to be a chore. Work with their interests and use them to help your little one spend more time around kids their own age. Doing an activity may also help them express themselves in more comfortable, non-verbal ways, which is a great bonus!
3. Start With One-On-One Situations
If your child still has trouble making friends talking to kids, it’s probably because there’s a big intimidating group of them. So arrange for them to interact with a kid they like in a smaller setting. You could invite the child for a playdate in order to encourage a stronger friendship. Or insist that they both go out to get ice cream after class. Who would say no to that? When a shy person spends time alone with another person, they have a better chance of practicing their social skills which in turn makes them more confident and outgoing.
4. Show Them How To Interact With People
When it comes to kids, everything is a show and tell game. So, before you give them an extensive instruction manual on how to make friends or talk to someone in a socially acceptable way, make sure you show them. If someone is friendly to you, be friendly to them. Make sure you smile at your acquaintances. Be kind and courteous to everyone. Even something as simply as watching you say thank you can teach your child social skills that they did not have before.
At the end of the day you need to keep in mind that you cannot make a shy child an extrovert or outgoing. You can only help them feel comfortable enough in situations, allow them to be themselves and not hide from others, which is good enough.