It’s not unusual for children to become shy, especially in new environments and around new people. Confidence and boldness come with age, but you can also help your child to become less shy and more self-assured by offering them some simple supports.
Here are four ways that you can help your child overcome their shyness:
1. Don’t answer for your child – It’s so tempting to step in and answer for your shy child. But rather than jump in, allow an extra 30 seconds for your child to answer themselves. You’ll find that often your child will step in quickly once they realise that you aren’t going to answer for them.
2. Offer opportunities – Sport is a great place to allow kids to get over their shy feelings, as there is structured activity prepared for kids to participate in. More structure means that there’s less room for error, putting shy kids at ease as they feel safe enough to venture out. Involving children in a wide variety of activities is a great way to combat shyness!
3. Don’t label – Small comments can have a big impact. “Oh, she’s just shy” or “He gets nervous around new people” are little phrases that can stick with a child and help to create their identity. Your words as their parent are powerful, so don’t create a self-fulfilling prophecy by commenting on their shyness. Instead offer things like “He loves meeting new people” or “She’s really excited to be here”.
4. Be an example – Everywhere that you go with your child, introduce yourself and your child to new people. This can be in the supermarket, at the park, or while running errands. Make an effort to model the kind of confident behaviour that you want your child to exhibit.