7 Ways to Help Your Shy Child ...

Do you wish you knew some ways to help your shy child? As a parent, it can be worrying to see your child's shyness make them anxious and hold them back. Shyness is not easy to overcome, and many children grow into shy adults. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to help your shy child …

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One of the more unusual ways to help your shy child is to enroll them in a drama class or group. It might seem like a strange option for shy children, but pretending to be someone else can be easier for some than being themselves. This won't work for everyone, but it's worth asking your child if they'd like to give it a go - they may enjoy being on stage so much that they forget to be shy.

2. Rehearse

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Continuing on the drama theme … If your child is nervous about an upcoming event, such as starting a new school, they may benefit from a practise session with you. We've all had a friend rehearse a job interview with us, so try the same with your child. Once they've practised, they may find that their anxiety is reduced, as they will feel more 'familiar' with the situation.

3. Encourage

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Some children launch themselves into everything without thinking twice. Shy children, on the other hand, can find new experiences (and familiar ones) very difficult to deal with. Give your child as much encouragement as you can without forcing them into situations they're uncomfortable with.

4. Don't Be Critical

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Some parents can grow exasperated with their child's shyness, especially if they themselves were an extrovert when young. Avoid being critical of your child and getting frustrated with them. It won't help them to feel criticised, and will probably make them feel that they are a disappointment to you. This will simply make them even less comfortable than they already are.

5. Listen

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Your children are entitled to opinions, so listen to them. Find out if they are unhappy with anything; for a shy child, activities that you might consider fun, like socialising and classes, can be difficult. Talk to them about what would make things easier for them and what they really like to do.

6. Don't Try to Change Them

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Your children have their own personality, so don't try to change them. You may be concerned that being shy will hold them back and that they won't be able to reach their full potential. However, trying to make them become more outgoing won't work. Help them instead to work on overcoming their shyness gradually.

7. Be Patient, Don't Push

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Never try to push a shy child into doing anything that makes them uncomfortable. I have less than fond memories of being made to go to swimming classes with a teacher who intimidated me. Needless to say, to this day I don't enjoy swimming. A shy child needs to be encouraged, not pushed.

You may worry about your shy child, but let them overcome it in their own good time. Gentle encouragement is far better than throwing them in the deep end. Shy children need to gain confidence in dealing with other people and new situations. Think of how we all feel nervous about starting something new - children can feel just the same. If you were shy, what helped you deal with it?

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