Parenting Tips: The Shy Child At Home, In Public & At School

>Parenting Tips: The Shy Child

Q: My child is incredibly shy and it breaks my heart. What can I do to encourage him to come out of his shell?

A: First, feel good abut the fact that you have recognized this in your son, and moreover that you are taking the steps necessary to make his life even better than it already is. He’s a lucky fellow to have such a proactive, loving mum. Secondly, know that there is no immediate “cure”. Rather, it’s a process … and like so many things: slow and steady often wins the race. The process will be a mix of planning, commitment, love, structure and flexibility.

So here are some suggestions … things that you can do/consider at home, in public and at school.

All the best,

(A) At Home:

  1. Show empathy & understanding. Talk. Cuddle. Connect. Love.
  2. Build confidence in your child:
  3. Read books about shyness (ask a librarian, teacher for advice)
  4. Set daily/weekly/monthly/yearly goals with your child.  Model the desired behaviours as well.
  5. Teach active listening skills:
  6. Teach manners/etiquette:
  7. Talk about/teach social skills:
  8. Teach social cues, reading body language and faces:
  9. Teach conversation skills:
  10. Encourage your child to answer all phone class and take messages.
  11. Encourage your child to answer the door under your supervision.
  12. Arrange play dates for your child. Encourage play/social time on his home turf, where he feels most confident and in control.
  13. Take advantage of the situation: schedule your own play dates! Your child will become accustomed to having people in the house.
  14. Take things one step at a time … don’t overwhelm your child. Don’t try to do it all at once. Slow & steady wins the race.

(B) In Public:

  1. Before heading out always give your child the heads up. Prepare him for what’s to come.
  2. Be confident and friendly in public. Model the desired behaviours.
  3. Model asking questions and complimenting others in public.
  4. When shopping have your child ask for assistance, pay at the cash, etc.
  5. What does your child love? Art? Skiing? Swimming? Soccer? Enrol him in classes.

(C) At School: Ask you child’s teacher to:

  1. Assign a  special role or job(s) for your child. Keep him occupied.
  2. Call on your child often, and in safe situations.
  3. Practice social skills, play games, encourage and monitor group work etc.
  4. Keep an eye out for any bullying. Shy children can be targets.
  5. Keep in contact and work together to encourage your child to come out of his shell. Remember you are a team!!!

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