Children and shyness: how to deal with a shy and timid toddler
Not all children are outgoing and sociable. Lots of children are shy and hide behind Mom or Dad when they meet someone they do not know for the first time, or even refuse to play with other children at the park or nursery school.
What can we do to help our children overcome their shyness?
A toddler’s shyness often stems from the fears of its parents. Remember that shyness is not a fault, but simply a personality trait. Every child has his or her own character and we as parents must give our children all the support they need to grow up into confident happy adults.
The first and most important thing to do is to help your child when he feels shy and lost: shy children often have problems socialising or interacting with with others, so try to make them feel comfortable with people they don’t know or when they are facing a new situation. In these cases, your child's reaction will be to hold on to you: don’t worry, remember that you are your child’s safety net in any new situation, so help him get through it as easily as he can.
Here are some suggestions to help your children overcome their shyness:
1) Don’t be insistent: don’t try to force your child NOT to be shy, but try to create a comfortable environment that brings out your child’s personality naturally.
2) Be understanding: help your child understand what he is feeling and help him socialize.
3) Don’t make your child feel that he or she is doing something wrong: shyness is often seen as a fault, and when this happens your child will feel even more uncomfortable. More appropriately, this personality trait should be described as “reserved” or "discreet".
4) Don’t make your child feel that he is “under observation”: focusing on his shyness will make him even more timid and shy.
5) In new situations, remember to bring along one of his favourite toys: this will not only make him safer, but may also be used as a talking point with the people he meets.
6) If you have a very outgoing personality, don’t overwhelm your child: for example, answering questions for your child will only make him feel more insecure.
There is no way of knowing if your child will overcome his shyness, but what is certain is that what he experiences every day is more important than genetics.
So parents, the best way to help your child is by giving him all the support and love he needs to make him feel confident and secure!