A child is born. What a joy. What a delight. With each passing stage of development, parents eagerly behold the varied growth sprouts that take place. The child moves from newborn to infant and from toddler to youth. Parents observe the evolution of the child’s personality. Some children are energetic while others are calm. Some children talk a lot while others talk only when spoken to. Some children are approachable, communicative and social while other children are bashful, reserved and quiet.
Although the goal is to reinforce to all children that they are unique beings with strengths and abilities that are instinctive to them, there are also things parents can do to support and encourage children who may be considered shy.
First of all, shyness is not a disease and in most cases it is merely a personality trait, inherited at birth. Our genes determine our physical traits, like height, eye color, skin color, and body type. But genes also influence certain personality traits, including shyness. About 20% of people have a genetic tendency to be naturally shy (http://teenshealth.org/teen/your_mind/emotions/shyness.html#).
Some children embrace meeting new people and welcome the chance to socialize. They’re eager to introduce themselves to others and seem to be the center of attention. For them being sociable and outgoing is natural and doesn’t require much effort. On the other hand there are children who feel uncomfortable, worried or tense during social encounters, especially with unfamiliar people.
Shy children are sometimes misunderstood by other children, they are perceived to be standoffish and unfriendly. Sometimes it even seems as if quiet children become invisible to other children. Because of their shyness, children dismiss opportunities to connect with them. However, the actuality is shy children crave new experiences and chances to meet and interact with others.
Here are four ways to support a shy child;
- Parents must first appreciate that they are blessed with a wonderful, caring and reserved child who is slow to warm up to strangers, approaches social relationships carefully, but overall is a happy child. Hug your quiet child. The world will be a gentler place because of him or her.
- Support a shy child by concentrating on their strengths, building their confidence and by urging them to take small steps toward building friendships.
- Parents can also role play with children so that they can practice social skills — like assertiveness; dialogue; and friendly, confident body language. These actions may help children meet friends and get more enjoyment from everyday experiences.
- Make sure to enroll the child in activities that they enjoy and ones that encourage shared interaction with children.
- If you are the parent of an outgoing child, encourage them to be more inclusive and reach out to the shy child with the intent to establish communication.
We must remember, shy children are just like any other child, it just takes them a while to warm up to others.
I was passionate. I found something that I loved. I could be all alone in a big old skating rink and nobody could get near me and I didn’t have to talk to anybody because of my shyness. It was great. I was in my fantasy world.
For e-mail updates whenever a new article is posted, please subscribe at the bottom of this page. Please follow Angela Harris on Twitter: @ALHsuccessline or join my Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/AlHsuccesslinesLlc. To order a copy of Angela’s book, Mommy What is a CEO, go to https://www.createspace.com/3856527, Amazon.com or other retail outlets.