No two children are alike, even if they are born of the same mother. I can see conflicting behavioural differences between my two children even though their age difference is not much. While my son is more friendly and outgoing, my daughter tends to take some time to warm up and is a little wary of strangers. Here are some tips to handling a shy child.
1. Never label a child
Being shy is not a condition, it is a personality trait. Appreciate their difference and don’t force them to behave in a way that pleases you. Never compare your child to other children, be it family or their friends. It is also important to not label the child as shy in their presence, especially when others are present. When we keep saying something about the child, they tend to believe that it’s the truth and it becomes their character. They will permanently withdraw and go into a shell.
2. Focus of building their self-esteem
Encourage your child to participate in extracurricular activities. Identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Your son might not be into sports but might be good at music. Encourage him to be a part of a band at school so he is among like-minded people, and can shine. This confidence will boost his self-esteem and edge him to be more outgoing. Check Kleverkid for the perfect option close to your home.
3. Let them follow their own pace
Every child has their own individuality. Respect and appreciate that. If they take some time to mingle with strangers, so be it. Don’t make a big deal and be apologetic about the situation. Even when it comes to after school activities, if there is one activity that they enjoy let them pursue it with all their heart, instead of dabbling in multiple activities that they have no interest in.
4. Praise their efforts
When you see that a child is making an extra effort to make new friends and be sociable, ensure that you appreciate it. A pat on the back or a smile can go a long way in building their confidence.
5. Encourage social interaction
If your child is having difficulty in making friends in school, don’t be overbearing and judgmental about it. Instead, encourage your child to interact with his classmates out of the classroom. If he brings friends home, be friendly and hospitable. Invite his friends over for a movie night or a sleepover so that he gets a chance to mingle with his peers and they can get to know him better.
Beyond a certain point, just allow independence and give them a chance to develop their own character. Every child has their own way of discovering their true self.