As the mother of a shy child, it can often be difficult to know the best way to help and support them. Here are twelve practical ways to support and encourage your child if they are feeling shy:
1. Show patience and understanding
As with all children, it important to be patient and understanding when it comes to your shy child’s social interactions and behavior. Let your child know that it’s okay to take their time if they feel uncomfortable
2. Be a model of social engagement
You can teach and model social skills to your shy child by engaging in conversations with neighbors, joining clubs, and other social activities.
3. Build your child’s self-confidence
Encourage your child to participate in activities that they're interested in, such as sports, art, or tutoring. Help them find activities that match their unique interests and talents. Having trust in themselves can help a shy child become more confident.
4. Support activities and playdates
Encourage your child to participate in activities like sports teams, clubs, or playdates with other children. These activities can help to grow social skills, such as communication and teamwork.
5. Introduce one-on-one activities
Shy children may feel more comfortable if activities are done in smaller groups or one-on-one. Offer to participate in activities with your child, such as going for a bike ride, playing a game of checkers, or having a book club with one other child. These activities can encourage interaction without being overwhelming.
6. Offer positive reinforcement
Praise your child when they participate in social activities, even if they don’t feel like it. Reward efforts that build self-confidence and social skill.
7. Provide conversation starters
If your child is stuck in a conversation, provide conversation starters that can get the conversation going.
8. Encourage moments of exploration
Help your child to explore and discover the world around them. Ask questions about places and people you pass on the way to school or the grocery store.
9. Encourage interests
- Discovering a passion can give shy children a sense of self-importance, and a chance to share their knowledge and experience with others. Encourage interests like singing, sport, art, or even cooking. These can help promote self-confidence in shy children.
10. Discourage comparison
Children are individuals with different strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Comparing your child to a friend, sibling, or classmate could damage self-esteem.
11. Build a supportive relationship
Show emotional support and make sure your shy child can talk to you about their fears and anxieties.
12. Seek professional help if needed
- If your child’s shyness interferes with daily life, consider talking to a professional counselor or therapist to help your child learn proper skills to cope with feelings of shyness.
Shyness is a common trait and is not something to be ashamed of. Remember that your child is unique and special; show patience and understanding, help your child cultivate their confidence with positive reinforcement, and explore activities and interests one-on-one. These twelve ways can help to support a shy child and make them more confident.