Does your child pretty much chat non-stop with you and your family about any and everything but clam up when they are put into a social situation outside the home? Or are they always timid, permanently attached to your leg? Well, according to research, shyness during childhood is very common but there are a few things that you can do now to help your child come out of their shell! Here are four tips to hopefully help parents encourage their children to be more social, comfortable, and confident.
1. If you see them struggling to make friends, don't intervene.
It is tempting to want to put on your red cape, leap onto the playground or where ever, and help your child navigate social awkwardness, but don't. Children won't learn how to get over the hump if you get involved. What you can do is to stay close by, keeping an eye on the situation, letting them know that you are only a hop, skip, and jump away if need be.
2. Prepare children for any new social situations.
Giving a shy child a "heads-up" so to speak as to what will and/or could happen at an event is always a good idea. Whether it is going to a birthday party, or a friends house, etc. can be nerve-racking for them. Talk children through what is to be expected, helping them ease so of their building anxiety.
3. Show them how it's done.
Be warm and friendly to people that you meet and your child will immolate your behavior. Remember children often copy their parents behavior so if you show them that it can be easy, then they will feel more comfortable doing so as well.
4. Take baby steps.
Don't force your children to go from 0 to 100 overnight. Overcoming shyness will happen but in due time. They may never be the most outgoing person on the block, and that's okay. Make sure that you let them know that your interest is in helping them develop skills that will help them in the future, nothing more, nothing less.