Here are six ways for assisting shy children in blossoming
- Get Rid of the ‘Shy’ Label and Replace It With Encouragement
Labels are a simple way to classify someone or a personality attribute.
The issue is that they might be dismissive, overly simplistic, and even wrong.
Being shy, for instance, is not the same as experiencing stage fright, introversion, or social anxiety. When we accidentally combine these distinctions into one, it can be confusing and damaging to a youngster.
Using the word “shy” to describe a youngster may cause them to assume there is something wrong with them. If it’s not harmful, why would he bring it up? It can also increase sibling rivalry and competition when labeled in front of siblings.
The concept can become profoundly embedded. Children may assume that their timidity defines them.
Even the labels we use to describe ourselves as good are problematic: She continues telling me how attractive I am. It has to be really important to be beautiful.
Rather than identifying positive or bad personality traits or conduct, we can support our children’s positive activities.
You might be tempted to tell the doctor that a 4-year-old who refuses to talk during his well-check checkup is bashful. Instead, when you detect great conduct in your child, you can encourage him or her:
“I appreciate your cooperation when the doctor asks you to take a deep breath for her stethoscope. That’s quite beneficial!”
The doctor will most likely pick up on your hints and support your son’s good deeds. There is no need for labels, notwithstanding his quiet!
Withhold stating, “It’s hard being shy,” or “I know you’re shy, but you’ve got this!” to the 12-year-old who is too bashful to strike up a discussion with her new basketball teammates.
Alternatively, you may say:
“I understand how difficult it is to meet new people. Especially if you’re concerned that they won’t respond well. However, I’ve noticed you’re a good team player who passes a lot on the floor!”
Even when the negative exceeds the positive, we can find a silver lining.
When children feel good about themselves, they acquire confidence. And confident children are more likely to emerge from their protective shells, at least partially.
- Assist shy children by practicing social skills with them.
Not every child is born running around the playground making friends with everyone.
Some people prefer to play alone. Others wish to make friends but are unsure where to begin.
All youngsters, whether shy or outgoing, benefit from practicing their social abilities in fictitious social situations.
Take Time for Training is a fantastic way to practice:
Take the time to train.
Kids can practice social contact with us at home, just like they can clean their teeth or ride a bike.
It might begin with the Ps and Qs of etiquette. Then we’ll be able to go far further than these crucial pleasantries.
When we take the effort to teach our children social skills, we begin by modeling those behaviors for them. Following that, we let students to practice their etiquette at home or in other safe environments.
It could be feigning a conversation or introducing yourself to others. It might include teaching outgoing youngsters to take turns speaking, listen closely, and respect personal limits.
The point is that we can’t presume that knowing how to socialize comes naturally. A crash course is frequently required for children.
Two-Way Role Play Training is more than just going through the motions and learning fundamental terminology. When you employ Two-Way Role Play, you can have a lot of fun.
This is a technique we use in our Positive Parenting Solutions course, along with Take Time for Training.
When we role-play scenarios with kids, it not only makes it more enjoyable and engaging for them, but it also reinforces the principles we’re attempting to teach.
While you play a fellow cub, your child can begin with his typical role–perhaps the socially shy kid at Cub Scouts. The fictional den leader has just instructed the scouts to pair up for a team-building activity in this scenario.
“Would you like to be my partner?” ask your son (whether you’re playing a shy “child” or a more outgoing one). “I’m available if you still need to pair up,” for example.
Switch roles now! Your son may approach you and request a partnership. To let him rehearse his rejection reaction, you can respond “yes” or even “no, I don’t want to partner with you.”
That could mean casually approaching the den leader (your next main character) and stating, “I’m still looking for a partner.” “Are you willing to assist?” Your youngster can then take on the role of den leader while you, the scout, seek partnered support.
Children enjoy playing dress-up, and any skit you put on together is a dress rehearsal for life.
Anything that has been adequately practiced stands a better probability of success.
Quote from Amy McCready
- Don’t Put Shy Kids in the Spotlight
Children are eased into real-world issues through training. However, they are unlikely to be prepared for an immediate assault.
While we want to provide our children as many new experiences as possible, we don’t want to put them under undue pressure to participate or perform.
Perhaps you persuaded your wallflower to join a friend at the Homecoming dance. You were heartbroken at the prospect of her missing such a historic event. But she begs you not to make her go when her stag date cancels at the last minute. She claims she would be ashamed if she was there without her dear friend.
You’ve already purchased your tickets and outfit. With a more daring mindset, you know she might still have a good time. (Clearly, you’re suffering from FOMO on her behalf.)
However, going could leave her traumatized.
Sometimes children require a little more encouragement. However, there are occasions when we must pause and listen to their worries. Putting them through a trial by fire may not help them overcome their shyness; instead, it may compel them to dig deeper.
Instead, you may urge your daughter to take a tiny step forward, such as attending the pre-dance meal with the rest of the group. It’s still a means for her to put herself out there, but with less pressure. Renee Jain recommends this strategy in her Go Zen! program for worried children.
Alternatively, perhaps your shy 6-year-old has been taking piano lessons for two years and enjoys them. However, when her teacher advises that she perform in an upcoming piano recital, she is terrified.
“I think everyone would love to hear you play,” you can remark, “and you should be proud of all the piano work you’ve put in.” But it’s fine if you really don’t want to perform.”
Then, not only can you encourage her to try again next time, but you can also suggest that she take the little first step of attending as an audience member this time. She can still support her instructor and cheer on her other friends’ efforts.
You don’t have to push her to engage directly. (As much as seeing her on that stage would warm your heart.)
Download free messages of encouragement
Pro Tip: Arriving early to school, parties, or any other group activity is beneficial to hesitant children. This takes the focus off them and gives them time to settle in and adjust.
- Have faith in your shy child’s abilities.
We don’t want to push shy children into the spotlight. It has the potential to backfire.
We do, however, want to help shy children succeed. Having faith in their skills is part of this.
You’re embarrassed again when your 4-year-old refuses to answer an adoring passerby’s question, “You’re so cute, how old are you?” The temptation to say, “Sorry, my kid is bashful,” arises.
But here’s the thing: there’s a catch. There is no need to coax or answer on her behalf, no matter how difficult it may be. Allow your daughter to think of her own response as you wait in silence.
Giving her this chance to suffer a little–in a safe, non-traumatic environment–confirms your belief that she will speak up. It also gives her the opportunity to practice answering. And the more opportunities she has to speak for herself in the future, the easier it will be for her.
If she still doesn’t speak after a reasonable amount of time–and you feel compelled to keep up appearances–change the conversation to the pleasant passerby.
“Thank you,” you can say. Isn’t today’s weather lovely?”
There’s no need to excuse or chastise your daughter for her lack of response, especially in front of the stranger. You can simply mimic your own response and go on.
Maybe next time she’ll be prepared to respond.
- Teach Shy Children to Be Self-Assured
We are telling our children that we believe in them when we trust them.
This is the first step towards persuading them that it is worthwhile to believe in themselves.
It begins with not referring to them as “shy.” Even if they are shy at times.
Then, as in a Decision-Rich Environment, it entails giving people options. Allowing children to make age-appropriate decisions throughout the day allows them to make mistakes, learn from them, and move on–possibly leading to a better decision the following time.
Review our Decision-Rich Environment tool in Step 3, Lesson 21 of the 7-Step Parenting Success System course for Positive Parenting Solutions Members.
With some experience dealing with life’s minor trials under their belts, children learn that they can rely on themselves to overcome larger obstacles such as social awkwardness and occasional shyness, and they will be well on their path to happiness and independence.
Even if children will never be completely confident in social circumstances, they can be confident in other parts of their lives.
Encourage them to help around the house, do their homework independently, and devote themselves to their passions and strengths are all excellent ways to boost their confidence, make them feel more at ease in their own skin, and enable them to contribute to the greater good in ways other than making great conversation.
- Hold regular family gatherings
Don’t be put off by the word “meeting”! This isn’t just a business meeting. Meetings with family members can be both beneficial and entertaining!
Kids can express their issues at Family Meetings, whether it’s a desire for a vacation from martial arts sessions or frustration with a brother who snatches toys. They’re also capable of bringing solutions to the table.
Children discover their worth as members of the family and as individuals through Family Meetings. They are aware that their voice is important. They also learn that communication is an important aspect of problem-solving and maintaining healthy relationships.
It’s also a lot of fun to switch meeting leaders every week! Kids as young as four can take turns keeping the meeting organized and on track with a little help. It’s a fantastic opportunity to put your leadership and communication skills to the test!
Family Meetings, especially when held on a regular basis (preferably once a week), add rungs to the confidence ladder and allow shy youngsters to shine.
Working on a group project with classmates or making new friends may not be the same as conversing with well-known family members in the dining room. But, like training, it’s a step in the right direction.
Your child is on a unique social path.
It might not resemble your friend’s child, who began speaking to anyone who would listen at the age of two.
It won’t resemble your adolescent niece, who seeks attention and has a slew of pals.
It’s possible that your child’s journey will be nothing like yours.
However, with these six tactics, as well as your love and patience, your child will be exactly where he needs to be.
Don’t sell him short on his potential.