Shyness can be part of your child’s personality, it can be something that only occurs periodically or in certain situations, or it can be a phase your child goes through. Most children are shy from time to time; it is perfectly natural to feel a little overwhelmed by a particular situation, or to feel nervous about a person or place. Shyness can, however, be a real problem for some children. If you feel your child is painfully shy and that it is making them unhappy, the problem needs to be carefully managed so you can help your child to feel more comfortable.
If your child goes silent in a new place or with new person, if they hide behind you or over their eyes or if they choose to sit by themselves and distance themselves from others, shyness is one of the most common reasons. They might also refuse to join in with other children, appear to prefer your company or get extremely clingy to one or more members of their close family.
Shyness is a child’s way of protecting themselves. This might be extreme, when they want protection from they consider to be potential danger, or it might be simply a case of protecting themselves from situations where they aren?t sure how to act.
Make sure you don?t scold your child for their shyness. It is part of their personality; it isn?t bad behaviour!
Give your child time to get used to a situation or person before leaving them or pushing them to get more involved. The4y may just take a while to warm to new things and this isn?t necessarily a bad thing!
Discern between real shyness and shyness that is acted out for attention. If your child is sued to getting cuddles and extra attention when they are shy, they may just decide to play on this and ?put on? some shyness that isn?t necessarily genuine. Try not to make too much fuss around your child when they are shy to discourage this.
Ensure the shyness isn?t caused by real worries, fears or events that have happened. Talk to your child about why they feel shy. They may be able to explain to you the cause of the feeling, and it may be easily resolved.
Help your child to develop social skills without leaving their comfort zone; instead of your child having to cope with an unfamiliar place and unfamiliar people, invite other children to play at your home. This will mean that your child is encouraged to play more without feeling shy as they will be happy in the setting. The thought of showing off their toys may just push them to interact more with the other children. It will be so much easier to get them playing in another setting once they are used to the other children. This is a great way to get a shy child settled into a new school.
Whatever you decide to do, be patient and try to see the shyness as just another part of your child’s wonderful personality. If you feel that the shyness has been caused by something which has happened in the home, such as sudden shyness after a house move or family break-up, then extra patience will be required. Talk to your child and encourage them to open up about their feelings. Reassure them that they are loved and play role-play games that enable them to escape their shyness and develop play skills that will help them feel more comfortable around others.