Shy children don’t always grow into shy adults, but if you’re still worried about their future prospects, there’s no harm in trying to boost their self-confidence a little. Here are just a few ways to build up your child’s fortitude.
Don’t Draw Attention To Their Shyness
Saying “don’t be shy” to a shy child will only make them retreat further into themselves. It’s like telling someone not to think about a pink elephant: Even if they weren’t doing it before, they’re certainly going to do it after you bring it up. To make matters worse, if you apologize for your child’s shyness in front of other people or try to awkwardly laugh it off, you’ll only reinforce the idea that something is wrong with them. They’ll become even more withdrawn to compensate for what they perceive as a character flaw. Your best bet is to draw no attention to their shyness while in public and continue working with them when you’re back at home.
Help Them Build New Skills
Maybe they can help you print custom stickers for a school project. Maybe they can learn how to cook a meal, ride a bike or paint a beautiful picture like they’ve always wanted to do. Helping your child attain new skills is one of the easiest ways to make them more confident, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different hobbies and activities until you find something that sticks. You never know when your child will discover a new passion.
It’s quite common for children to take on the traits of their parents, so if you’re struggling with your own shyness issues, it’s time to take a look in the mirror and see what you can do. Maybe you can pick up a new hobby that gets you out of the house more often. Maybe you can work on better relationships with your neighbors or other parents in the PTA. If your child sees you conquering your own fears, they might be inspired to do the same. As a parent, it’s your job to forge a path ahead of your little ones, so give them a good example to follow.
Whether you’re worried about preschool socialization or teenage anxiety, these are just a few tips for drawing your child out of their shell. They might feel comfortable in there, but if you want them to develop a healthy self-image and build strong interpersonal skills for the future, you might have to poke them a little until they emerge like a baby turtle.