The shy toddlerDoes your toddler cling to your legs whenever you go out, and hide her face if someone tries to talk to her? Maybe she hangs back and refuses to take part in fun activities with her little toddler mates. While she may never be an extroverted centre of attention, there are skills she can learn to deal with her shyness. Read more…
Here’s an interesting fact: shy children are BORN not made. Researchers have suggested that shyness may be genetic, and also an inherited personality trait. It’s also very common with some studies claiming that some 50% of people are shy.
Experts claim shy children may become be shy adults but they can start learning the skills to deal with social situations from a very young age. And it is their parents who will help them learn.
Here are some tips for your shy toddler
- No pressure – shy kids are more anxious and won’t respond well to being pushed into activities that will exacerbate their shyness. Understand their limits and adjust your expectations accordingly.
- Provide time – to let your child become comfortable with new or challenging situations. Let them set the pace and have the time to warm up.
- Early preparation – before a social event, start preparing your child by giving her some information about who will be there, what will happen and where you’ll be. This can lower her anxiety.
- The power of smiling – smily youngsters are often confident youngsters. So encourage your shy toddler to smile by praising her smile.
- One-on-one play times – having just one other little person around to play at your house is not so intimidating for a shy youngster, and also encourages them to form social bonds in a safe environment.
- Don’t categorise or criticise– one of the biggest hurdles for shy kids is being labelled one. So if people comment on your child’s less outgoing ways, just say “she prefers to watch situations first”.
- Encourage eye contact – this is the secret to at least appearing more confident, so start gently teaching your little one to look you in the eyes when talking together.
- Conquering shyness
- Understanding shyness
- Why is my child shy?
- Separation anxiety tips
- Stages of separation anxiety
- Preparing for a new babysitter
This article was written by Fiona Baker, former editor in chief of Mother & Baby, Pregnancy & Birth, Wondertime magazines for Kidspot, New Zealand's best resource for pregnancy and parenting.
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