If you want to know how to help shy kids, this article will lay out some good advice for parents on dealing with their shyness. Be aware that I’m not an expert by any means. However, by doing a lot of research, I’ve come up with a solid plan for helping shy children overcome their fears. Here’s a look at coping strategies for shy children.
- Why shy kids have problems
- How to help shy kids: a long-term plan
- 1) Keep your child busy with a variety of structured activities.
- 2) Build up their self-confidence by having them do things they’re good at.
- 3) Make sure your child has plenty of practice with social situations.
- 4) Help them find something they can be passionate about.
- 5) Have them practice making eye contact.
- 6) Encourage your child to think about things they can talk about.
- 7) Help them learn to read people.
- 8) Encourage them to join a club or group that meets regularly.
- 9) Have them join a summer camp.
- 10) Encourage your child to take part in group activities at home.
- 11) Encourage your child to join sports teams.
- Being Shy Isn’t the End of the World
Why shy kids have problems
There are several reasons why shy kids have problems.
- They’re afraid of being rejected.
- They’re afraid of making fools of themselves.
- They’re afraid of being embarrassed.
- They’re afraid of appearing stupid.
Understanding the underlying reasons for shyness will help us to figure out the best way to help shy children. It’s important for parents to realize that shyness is a problem that needs to be solved. Sometimes parents mistakenly believe that shyness is cute and endearing.
But in truth it’s a real handicap that limits shy children’s learning and growth. Shy kids are usually hesitant in most new situations and take longer to adjust. They tend to shrink from meeting new people and try to avoid situations that involve a lot of interaction. They’re the kids who stand to the side and are afraid to join in.
Parents who are on the lookout for shyness in their children should try a few of the following suggestions to help shy kids.
How to help shy kids: a long-term plan
Here’s a few quick and easy tips for helping shy children overcome their anxiety.
1) Keep your child busy with a variety of structured activities.
Have you heard the phrase, “I’m bored!” While not as common since the advent of the smartphone and tablets, children might still become swept up with bad habits like too much screen time. While some say “social media” is a cure for shyness, typing messages online (or even using video chat) is not the same thing as meeting new people in real life.
If your child is going to be in school or preschool, be sure to get them involved in as many group activities as possible. For example, many schools have “circle time” where children can get the practice they need to interact with other kids. A child who is shy might not be comfortable speaking in front of a group at first, but they’ll get used to it with repetition.
2) Build up their self-confidence by having them do things they’re good at.
Parents can help shy children by encouraging them to be involved in things they’re good at.
For example, a child who loves to draw might enjoy art camp, where they’ll get to meet other kids who love to draw. A child who loves to sing might enjoy taking voice lessons to get more experience singing in front of others. I’ve heard of parents encouraging shy children to do religious service work.
The idea is to encourage shy kids to use their talents. This will increase their self-confidence and strengthen their social skills.
3) Make sure your child has plenty of practice with social situations.
Shy children will usually make an effort to avoid social situations, so it’s up to parents to get their kids socializing. Some parents encourage their kids to be a part of a team sport. This is one of the best ways to get shy kids out of their comfort zones and make friends.
Volunteering is another activity that helps shy kids become more comfortable with meeting new people. How about going to a local auction and making a bid? Getting the highest bidder is fun, and the money goes to a good cause.
4) Help them find something they can be passionate about.
Shy children will often be drawn to something they can become passionate about. For example, a shy kid who loves science will enjoy being a part of a science club. A shy kid who loves art might enjoy a summer art program.
Being passionate about something is an important element in helping shy children reach their full potential.
5) Have them practice making eye contact.
One of the best ways to help shy kids is to have them practice making eye contact. It’s important to give eye contact when you’re talking to people and it’s also important to encourage children to make eye contact when they’re speaking.
6) Encourage your child to think about things they can talk about.
If you ask your child what they did at school that day, they might say, “Nothing.” If you ask them to think of something, they might be able to tell you about the new desk they got in the classroom or how the new substitute teacher was a lot nicer than the regular teacher.
Encourage your child to make a list of the things they can talk about. Then make a game out of asking your child to talk about something they’re comfortable with. For example, if your child has a pet, ask them about their pet.
7) Help them learn to read people.
A shy child can learn to read people’s facial expressions and body language. Often people are scared to approach someone who is staring at them. If a shy child can learn to read the other person’s body language and interpret it as a good sign, it will help them feel braver and more comfortable.
For example, if a shy child learns to see a smile as a sign that the other person is friendly, it will help their interaction.
8) Encourage them to join a club or group that meets regularly.
Shy kids might like the idea of joining a book club, a sports team, or a religious club. Having the option of meeting with other people in a semi-structured environment is a great way to build confidence and make new friends.
9) Have them join a summer camp.
Summer camps are a way to get shy kids involved in group activities. I’ve heard of parents encouraging their kids to go to a summer camp that specializes in their kids’ interests. For example, if your child loves animals, they might enjoy a science camp where they can meet other kids who love science.
10) Encourage your child to take part in group activities at home.
If your child is shy, encourage them to join in family activities. For example, you might all play a board game or watch a movie together. Playing a game or watching a movie is a good way to help shy kids get used to being in a group. It’s also a great way to make family memories together.
11) Encourage your child to join sports teams.
Sports are a great way to help shy kids gain confidence and make friends. It’s a good idea to encourage shy kids to join sports teams in school and at other venues.
Being Shy Isn’t the End of the World
On the other end of the spectrum, you want to make sure you’re not pushing your children too much if they’re naturally a shy person. While teaching them how to be more sociable is important, it’s also crucial to allow them to be themselves. Don’t be afraid to tell your children why you love them for who they are.
I often hear from parents who have limited their children’s time on social media, fearing that the Internet is making their children antisocial. If a child is already shy because of an innate temperament, limiting their time on the Internet is a good idea – in general.
If you have a shy child, don’t despair. There are many ways you can help shy kids be more sociable. I wish you luck!