Shy children: how to overcome the fear of strangers?
When you meet some friends during a walk with your little ones, do they hide behind you? When you go out together with other children, do they prefer to stand aside?
A certain “shyness” towards strangers often appears around the eight-month mark: in this phase it can happen that your little one tries and hide by putting his head on your shoulder. Don’t worry, this means that your little one is learning the principles about “known” and “unknown” or is living the phase of “separation anxiety” typical of the moment when they start being a bit more independent.
If this is not a passing phase and it seems to you that your little one has always shown a certain shyness, this situation can be dealt with using a few tricks.
However, remember that shyness is not a negative thing, but is part of the personality of your little one: if it seems natural to be sociable and extrovert to some, others may appear more reserved.
So, here are a few tricks to help your little ones come out of their shell and experience these situations in a less stressful way.
Don’t use the adjective “shy”
Don’t always associate your children to this word: if you let them understand that you expect this from them, your idea might influence their attitude.
So, it is important for any parent to accept their personality, finding ways to deal with their shyness.
Try and be understanding
If you see your children in difficulty, come close to them and make them understand that you know how they feel. If you find yourself at a birthday party full of noisy children and your little ones feel intimidated, you could try and reassure them by saying this: “It is not easy to make friends when children are so noisy, right?” By doing this they will understand that their reaction is completely normal and all the people around them know how they feel.
Encouraging at times is more than enough
Every attempt of socializing, even if small, is a great step for all shy children and because of this they should always be encouraged. If you go and see grandma, and after hiding for the whole time, your little ones decide to give her a smile, try and tell them: “What a beautiful smile! Grandma really liked it!”
Get them involved in group activities
Keeping your little ones away from group activities may seem like an easy solution, but it doesn’t help them face their fears. Even if it takes more time for them to decide to play with the other children, they will be more exposed to similar meetings, and so they will manage them better.
Organize suitable activities
Plan activities to do in small groups, better if in quiet and known environment. Suitable places could be their own bedroom or the library, or maybe inviting a friend so that they can spend a pleasant afternoon playing and going through some books.
Dear mums and dads, are you also trying to help your little ones become more extrovert? Have you already tried these tricks? We want to know your strategies!