You Are At: AllSands Home > Kids > How to help shy children
Shyness can be debilitating and keep people from truly enjoying life. Shy adults report being less satisfied with their lives and don’t achieve the same levels of success in their work that outgoing adults do. Helping a child overcome his or her shyness at a young age could prevent a less satisfying adulthood.

There is a difference between being introverted, which shy children generally are, and shy. Introversion is an indication that the person draws energy from within himself or herself, prefers spending a good deal of time alone, and reveals less about himself or herself than extroverted people. Shyness is the result of reticence or fear. The shy person is reluctant or afraid to approach social situations, rather than just not preferring these kinds of situations.

Shyness has several suspected causes, but there is no clear cause for it. It’s less important to discover the cause of the shyness than to deal with how to overcome it. If you identify your child as shy and he or she exhibits fear of social situations, it can be concluded that the child is shy and would benefit from help in approaching social situations.

We have a natural tendency as parents to try and protect or insulate our children from pain or from things that frighten them. However, protecting a shy child from the things that he/she fears can only serve to reinforce the fear. The first thing we must do for the shy child is stop protecting him/her from public life. Reality is that we all must deal with a public life.

The goal is not to change the child from an introvert to an extrovert but teach him/her the confidence that enables the child to interact in society without fear. Nothing builds confidence like success. One way to help a child feel successful is to help him/her discover his/her talent. Channeling the child into activities at which he/she excels will help him/her experience genuine success within a peer group.

This peer group can then become the foundation for friendships. Encourage and nurture close relationships for your shy child. Again, experiencing success will assist the child with overcoming the fear of the situation.

When it is necessary to inject your shy child into a new situation such as a new school, try to introduce him or her to the new place beforehand. Take the child on a tour of the new school, locate classrooms, and introduce teachers. There will then be at least a fragment of familiarity in the new situation.

Teasing is something all children experience and find painful. It’s particularly painful for the shy child, as it reinforces the fear of social situations. The shy child will need extra comforting and support and reminders about his/her skills and successes. Resist the urge, though, to fix the situation for the child.

Being aware of your child’s shy tendency and working to direct him or her to successful situations will in the long run help break the cycle of fear. Give the child comfort, love, support, and encouragement. Confidence is what is called for here, and repeated, recognized success will help the child achieve that confidence.