Written by Jana Angeles
Shy children cannot be underestimated for their talents. Just because they’re more reserved and less outspoken than other kids doesn’t mean they won’t go far in life. As I write here today, I can tell you now I used to be a shy kid. I hated being around people I didn’t know and I would hide away, pretending to be invisible.
The teachers I had in school told me I had to participate more in class discussions if I wanted to go far in life. Of course, I had help coming out of my shell doing drama classes in high school and meeting lovely people I now call my friends. The best advice you could give to yourself in raising shy children is to give them time and understand that they’re not perfect. They will blossom on their own if you allow it. Here are some ways in which you can bond with your shy children and allow them to grow out of their shell.
Be A Patient Listener
Your child may be a chatterbox at home but placed in a different environment is as silent as a mouse. It’s important to hear them out first before encouraging them to participate in a sporting club or an extracurricular activity at school. Take the time in getting to know their wants in terms of activities – they may thrive more in ones that allow them to be in solitude. Respect that your child may take time in adapting to group work and provide some encouragement during this process.
Talk Them Out of Self-Doubt
They may not have any friends at school or they’ve faced scenarios where they feel like they’re “weird” to be friends with anyone. Of course, the negativity can bring in some self-doubt but remind them that they can be friends with anyone and that they shouldn’t be shy because of who they are as people. Remind them that everyone is weird in their own way and that people who share the same weirdness become friends! Help them become confident in putting themselves out there to meet new people during school.
Preparation is Key
It’s no doubt that preparing them for school can be quite the challenge. When it comes to being introduced to an unfamiliar environment, new scenarios can be daunting for a shy child, especially when it comes introducing themselves to other people. Let them know that they may be seated with other people they don’t know too well and that they will meet other kids during recess and lunch. If they know what to expect, their anxiety can be reduced, making it easier for them to transition to school.
Find A Preschool That Suits Their Personality
If you know you’re child is highly introverted and shy, enrol them in a preschool that allows teachers to have smaller-sized classrooms. Working in an environment that suits their personality can allow them to thrive academically and creatively. It will also provide them the opportunity to get to know their peers more closely, providing room to bond with each other.
Act Out Scenarios At Home
Role-playing scenarios is a good idea and allows your child to prepare for any sort of situation that arises. For example, another child could ask to be friends. Teach them the appropriate response when dealing with different scenarios and always give feedback when undertaking these role plays. Not only will they learn to adapt, but it will also give them a chance to “see into the future” and be prepared for what comes their way. It will help them understand the concept of change and that the unexpected can happen.
Just because you have a shy child doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong! Let them grow at their own pace and identify their likes and dislikes. Sometimes being in a new environment can freak them out but with preparation and patience, they will learn to open up to new people and challenges along the way.