Help and Strategies to Overcome Shyness
Making friends can be a tough job for any child, especially difficult if your little one is shy. As one of those shy kids myself, I tended to hide away, get on with my work and not worry about the networking that so often went hand in hand with my job. However, what I learned over time was that people didn’t think I was shy, they thought I was aloof and standoffish, even a little conceited or arrogant! It completely changed my perspective overnight. If these people thought I had the problem, could they be right?
Is Your Child Scared to Speak in Front of Others?
Do you answer for your son or daughter when you are ordering in a restaurant? Do you automatically finish their sentences for them when they are trying to speak to grandma? Perhaps, instead of “helping” them, you should allow them to finish what they’re saying. Allowing a shy child to speak lets them know that you think what they have to say is important. This gives them confidence to speak in other situations.
Do you Chat with Other Parents?
Some parents don't see the point in talking to other children’s parents. This is not the right attitude. If other children see you talking to their parents, they’ll want to be friendly with your child too, so will be more likely to befriend your child.
Let Your Child See You Speaking with Friends
One of the best things we can do for our kids is to show them how to foster good relationships. When we are catching up with friends, let them see how we talk and show an interest in our friends’ lives. Being a friend isn’t about being liked; it’s about showing an interest in other people.
Show an Interest!
One of the ways we can show that we care about our child is to show an interest in their lives. Ask them questions! Ask about their friends. For example, ask them about what their friend Jenna did at the weekend. Your little one might not have thought about asking Jenna what she did, but she will in future. This is a great way to overcome shyness.
Encourage Your Child to Have a Hobby
Children are much more interesting if they have a hobby, or they are learning to do something. Some children have three or four hobbies. My daughter enjoys computers, piano and drama classes, she has recently started playing the guitar too. This gives her something to talk about with her friends and allows other people to get to know her as well.
If your child is really shy and introverted, you may need to start small. Practice smiling at people while shopping. After a couple of weeks, you might want to up the ante and ask your youngster to say, “Hello.” Perhaps you could ask him or her to answer the phone occasionally? They don’t have to talk to anyone in depth and no one can see who they are so it’s good practice.
Read With Them
It sounds so simple, but listening to your child read can do wonders for their confidence and self esteem. It tells them that you are listening to them, no matter what they have to say – even if it’s a story they’ve read before. Ask them questions about the characters or the story line. Ask them if they know what the larger words mean. This will help them to become confident and shows them that you have faith in them too.
Help Other People
If your child sees you helping other people, they will be more likely to help other people too. Being helpful will help other children see just how friendly your child is.
Compliment Others Often
This is one of the easiest things we can do to make other people feel happy or more confident. A sincere compliment costs nothing and helps others to feel better about him or herself. People rarely remember what you said to them, but they do remember how you made them feel.
Encouraging your shy child to take an interest in other children is the easiest way in which we can encourage new friendships. We can help our children by allowing them to go to clubs and meet new people; however, showing them how to be a friend is far more important.