Are you concerned about your child not being able to make friends? Is he shying away from the public and wishes not to talk? Are you looking for ways to help your child overcome shyness? Well, you are in the right place. Continue to read further.
Let’s understand this shy behavior:
Some kids are happy-go-lucky and can gell with others quite easily. They are born extroverts whereas some develop social anxiety within them who are known as “shy kids”. These are introvert and they are just not comfortable in the unknown environment. They refuse to gel outside their comfort zone. But, this is just a phase and nothing to worry about.
Shy children exclude themselves from the situation or don’t mingle because they are focused on their own discomfort. For example, they are seen spending their time mostly alone doing stuff like reading or silently staring at other kids, Unfortunately, the unintended message they send to their peers when they do this is that they don’t want to be friends.
The child development experts suggest that just like shy people have an overactive amygdala, their part of the brain controls split-second emotional responses. The same fight-or-flight reaction makes an average person flee from the danger; the same reaction is developed in a shy child that creates anxiety in everyday social situations.
Activities for the shy kids:
Shy kids are more socially empathetic than highly outgoing kids. They feel very secure in their families therefore, bond more effectively with their family’ values than outgoing kids. Do not force your shy child to mingle in the group of activities, this will have an adverse effect and more likely to increase social anxiety. Arranging one-on-one activities or play dates with another shy child will probably be mutually beneficial.
Some of the activities you can arrange are:
• One on one activity
• Play dates/slumber party
• Making a family journal
• Playing sports like kickball, dodge ball, catch, etc.
• Go to the park and fly kites
• Taking field trips like visiting museums
How to make your child adjust to the surrounding
There are no simple ways to get your shy child come out of the shell. If you put pressure on your child to mingle with others he will resist even more.
Below are some dos and donts of dealing with shy kids:
• Look for a great preschool, shy kids open up when they are in a comfortable environment. Try to pick a school which has a 1:8 teachers – student ratio.
• Bring your child to school a few minutes early so that he gets comfortable with the teachers and classroom environment
• Let the teachers know about your kid’s shyness and stay close for a few days so that you can address the problem immediately if there is any
• Give your child some space to prepare, your kid’s anxiety will reduce when he/she knows what to expect. For e.g. you can have a small gathering ahead of your kid’s birthday which will feel less overwhelming
• Encourage your kid to talk to you about the fears he/she is going through. Empathize with their shyness rather dismissing it
• Help your kid to reduce the negativity in mind by giving positive reinforcement and encourage him to remind that what he is doing is okay
• Practice role-playing at home. Act different scenarios with your child, such as meeting a new kid at school, or making him a teacher and talking to a new kid who has just joined. Switch roles so that your child can experience both sides of the social equation
What are the types of shy kids?
Shyness is not just one or two symptoms but an all-encompassing collection of characteristics that manifests itself in the mind, body, and behavior of a kid. An important point to consider while dealing with shy children is that all shy kids are not the same; shyness comes in different forms.
1. Immature shy kids:
These kids lack social skills, they usually dread to join any social function/ event /occasion. They have few friends and do not like to mingle with people around. These kids are mostly to themselves, more into their own world and do not prefer having company to play with.
2. Agreeable shy kids:
These kids are the one who takes time to open up. Once they get comfortable they are easy going. Usually, these kids do not initiate the conversation or play, however, they respond warmly when the peer approaches them. Other kids viewed them as reasonably fun despite their tendency to hold back. Perhaps their positive family relationships allowed them to develop good enough social skills to get along with their peers.
3. Aggressive shy kids:
When compared to both highly active sociable kids and other shy kids, these kids struggle to develop peer relationships. They are very likely to get rejected, excluded, or bullied by their friends because of their aggressive behavior and partly because they have few friends to talk to and play with.
How to deal with a shy baby?
1. Follow your child’s interests:
Children can easily make friends by doing fun things together. A fun activity that your kid enjoys the most with his/her peers can prove to be a stepping stone in developing a bond with their friends. Some shy kids need an initial push, post that they are fine interacting with peers.
2. Teach and practice social scripts:
Help your child to become socially involved by teaching them some social scripts like saying hello, thankyous or make eye contact while talking etc. This will eliminate the initial shyness to talk and open up to the strangers. A friendly smile and a simple greeting can get the ball rolling.
3. Focus on one-on-one interaction:
Shy kids are not comfortable when they see many people around; they prefer one on one interaction. You can arrange a playdate with his friend so that your child could practice social skills and overcome the shyness. Start with one friend, and eventually have it called few friends called at your home arranging some snacks or planning a Friday movie night which will help him get comfortable with the crowd.
4.Respond when others are friendly:
Help your child to be on a lookout for kind behavior from other kids, this will be the beginning of initiating friendship on their own. Teach your kid to practice responding warmly. For e.g., if somebody gives a compliment, responding it with “thank you” can be a great way to overcome shyness.
5. Be patient:
It takes a while to overcome shyness related problems in kids. Patience is the key here. Encourage your child a little by showing your faith in him that he can do it. With the persistent effort and guidance, your kid will start making friends and get social.
6. Work on social skills:
Give your kid opportunities to develop his social skills. Encourage him to play and work independently. For e.g. when you are at the restaurant, let him order his own food
7. Model outgoing behavior:
When you show your child how to socialize, like greeting people, making conversation, and being friendly, your kid gets more comfortable doing the same. Hence, this will encourage your child to open up from his shyness mode.
The purpose of this blog is to make you understand the underlying cause of this behavior and motivate you to support your shy child so that he/she becomes more comfortable in social situations.
We all want our children to make friends easily, to feel comfortable asking questions at school, to speak up for themselves. The good news is with the above-mentioned tips, you will be able to deal with your child shyness.