Shyness can be defined as the tendency to feel uncomfortable or worried during social encounters, particularly with strangers. Shyness may also mean feeling nervous, anxious, self-conscious, or insecure around people. Often, shy children want to interact with others but don’t because of fear.
That said, a good many people are reserved when introduced to new people, or asked to give a presentation, most people show physical or emotional responses that characterize shyness, such as blushing, or feeling speechless when with others. Children are no different.
However, problems start for the child when shyness becomes a fixed part of their daily life. Some shy children develop this tendency due to harsh life experiences they have had, but others are born shy. Shyness in children can manifest itself suddenly. If this is the case, then an event may have triggered it. Or it may be caused by an anxiety disorder; in this case consulting a professional would help. Whatever the reason shy children need assistance to overcoming their shyness.
When You Should Start Worrying
Most children can be hesitant and don’t easily react comfortably to situations that are new to them, these characteristics are normal in children and there is often nothing to worry about.
However, if these characteristics apply to every possible situation, then there’s a cause for concern and as a parent, you need to help your child overcome this. It is a fine line and you have to look at the actions, reactions that are a result of the emotions felt.
Usually, shy children not willing to make the first move, choosing to stay alone rather than reaching out to their peers, they feel more comfortable standing back from the crowd rather than joining in.
They are indeed likely to be emotionally distressed in situations that involve interaction with others, such as social gatherings, unfortunately this anxiety might prompt them to underestimate their abilities and view their environment in a negative light.
Helping Shy Children to Socialize
Most children start showing an interest in playing with others around the age of two. If your child prefers playing alone during this time, something could be wrong. The good news, however, is that a parent can do a lot to help their child interact with other children.
One of the best ways to train your child develop their social skills is through gatherings. Make use of community events or social groups to teach your child how to interact with others through modeling. Show your child that you can interact easily with people you are not even familiar with.
Learning Through Play…
When children are young they learn through play, this is a very effective teaching tool, and a parent can utilize this to teach their children to socialize.
During a play session with your child, be sure to verbalize specific social skills. Also, use puppets, dolls or even action figures to demonstrate other skills, such as how to invite other children to play, or how to react to an aggressive child. Involve the extended family, as they may help your child learn social skills in a safe environment.
Teaching a child these skills takes time, and mistakes will be made, however, continue these comfortable play sessions in an accepting warm manner until your child develops a better understanding.
Never lose patience as this will surely make the child miss the point of your teachings. Shy children tend to be more sensitive and empathetic than outgoing kids, so gentle teaching usually does the trick.
The Importance of Acceptance
Accepting your child without negative judgments will go a long way to help them feel good about themselves, and they need this comfort, because a lot of shy children have many hurdles to overcome.
One of the most distressing hurdles starts at school. Many shy children are often excluded from groups during play at school. Some are bullied by others in school because of their shyness. Therefore, they need assistance getting past this emotionally as well as the skills to handle this type of situation.
Things You Should Not Do!
As a parent you need to be patient if your child is not developing social skills as fast as you want, be patient and continue to all you can to help your child shyness.
Do not say to them “don’t be shy” this will give them the impression you disapprove, and that there is something wrong with them, or they might feel a sense of shame. Some children become emotionally distressed, and shamming them can only worsen the situation.
Giving the impression that there’s something wrong with your child will not only make him or her feel worse about themselves, but more insecure. Be sure to empathize with your child as this will teach your child to develop empathy, which will in turn help them develop the necessary social skills.
Teach Your Child Social Skills
There’s a strong link between social skills and success in any area of life.
With good social skills, it is easier to build strong relationships with others and excel in life. If your child lacks social skills, intervention and gentle guidance will help.
Below is a summary of how you can greatly assist your shy child to develop their social skills…
Interacting With Others
In order for any child to develop social skills, they need to spend time with her peers. By playing with their peers, they will develop intuition about other children and build a connection with them.
Parents should encourage socialization by exposing their children to their peers through play dates or organized activities such as church groups.
Set a Good Example
Children learn by what they see us do, not so much what we tell them to do. Be a model of excellent social skills, this means being friendly to everyone, offering assistance to others, as well as demonstrating a relaxed outlook about of all kinds of social interactions.
Make use of every opportunity to show your child how to interact with other people out there. This might seem ineffective, but research has shown that this can benefit children a great deal.
Encourage Shy Children to Speak Up
Children who are more open are more likely to have a number of friends. For your child to open up, you need to show love, affection and acceptance. A child who feels loved will talk about all the issues affecting them.
Whenever your child opens up about the difficult things that happened in school, be sure to provide emotion words to aid in expressing themselves.
Parents are more influential in their children’s lives than they realize. If your child is shy or has difficulty interacting with other kids, you need to help.
These tips are only a starting point to assist shy children. Look for everyday opportunity to help your child to develop social skills that will be extremely beneficial in their everyday life.