Every child comes into the world with their own set of characteristics. As a parent, your challenge is to find those characteristics and find the most suitable way to work around them. Some kids are just not as pronounced as others and need to be handled in a way that makes them comfortable.
“For the longest time, my 6 year old daughter couldn’t be around visitors. I don’t know if she was just shy or anti- social,” said advertising executive, James Kwizera. “My wife would try to get her to come out and say hello but that would only cause an outburst.”
If a child acts shy, they need you to lovingly accept and validate them, just the way they are, while at the same time warmly encouraging them, indicating that things are actually safer than they can tell. Forcing a child to do something they clearly don’t want to do will only cause further problems.
Talk to the child before going into situations where they become anxious. A much younger child probably won’t understand a word you are saying so maybe confuse them with a story. Children thrive on fun and connection and what better way is there other than a good story?
Take ten or fifteen minutes before you get ready to go and then shine your undivided attention onto the child, and do whatever it is that they enjoy doing with you at the moment. Play pillow fight, maybe hide and seek or even some messy water play.
“My son Elijah seems to have trouble where other children are concerned. I don’t know if it’s because he is still an only child and therefore feels awkward around other kids. When we go to a playground and another kid goes on the swing he was going to go on, that’s the end. He won’t move another inch,” said Faith Amolo, a working mother living in Denmark.
According to www.handinhandparenting.com, children are helped by a parents’ optimistic tone. Before making the transition into a situation that has been troubling a child, talk them through what is about to happen with a warm, confident tone.
Having a tone of optimism can help children feel close enough to their parent to flow better into the new setting. Then, when you get there, close and connected, you can make light overtures offering a gentle invitation to play with you or the other children. Allow a few minutes between overtures for your child to try using his own initiative to enter the group. Keep your tone warm and supportive.
Helping your children release their fears can be difficult work. It’s surprisingly hard to let children laugh long, and to listen to the depth of their fear and grief. You’ll find that things go better when you have a listener for yourself, so that you, too, have the chance to express what you think, notice and feel as you work hard to help your child with shyness.