How to help shy children: 12 tips
Each one of us is different from the others. We have different lives and stories, which make us see reality in a unique and unrepeatable way. However, there are common patterns of behavior and ways of perceiving the world. Although technically we do not form our personality until after adolescence has passed and our identity has been acquired, some of our personality traits will be visible from childhood.
An example of this is the existence or not of shyness. Although it is a trait that is not (contrary to what many seem to think) noxious in itself, the truth is that it can hinder the expression of their feelings and thoughts and decrease the possibility of establishing emotional ties with their peers or to reduce the quality of these?How to help shy children in your day to day? In this article we offer a series of proposals that can help overcome this shyness.
- Related article: "The 4 differences between shyness and social phobia"
What do we consider shyness?
It is considered shyness to a temperamental feature consisting of the tendency to withdraw, not express emotions and thoughts easily and to draw attention as little as possible. We are facing a feature linked especially to the level of self-esteem and security, negatively correlating with both and especially with the latter.
The shy child will tend not to express themselves in the presence of strangers or people who do not trust, look for safer environments and avoid exposure or attract the attention of large crowds. In other words, the shy child has a reserved behavior and is usually more contemplative, although deep down he may want to actively participate in what happens.
It is important do not confuse shyness with introversion : the introverted person needs lower levels of external activation than an extraverted one, needing less social contact. It is not that he is asocial or does not have friends, he simply needs less contact. However, a shy child may have an extroverted nature and not express it out of fear or insecurity.
As we have said, this feature is not necessarily negative. And on the one hand, it facilitates the subject in question to evaluate situations and act after analyzing and checking the functioning of situations. On the other, if it is very accentuated, limit the interaction of who has it with the environment and hinder social relations . It is in this last situation, when the shy child begins to have problems derived from this trait, in which we ask ourselves what we can do to help him overcome his shyness.
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Tips to help shy children
When trying to help a child overcome his shyness, we must bear in mind that a large part of his situation stems from a lack of confidence and security. You also have to keep in mind that, even if the intentions are good, some of the classic ways that many employ so that their children overcome their shyness can actually further reduce their self-confidence and self-esteem. That is why below are some ways to help the shy child that may be useful.
1. Encourage your achievements
It is important for a child, especially if he is shy and insecure, to see how his approaches to acting are encouraged and experienced as something positive by their parents or teachers . Praising and congratulating their performance will make the child feel more confident and facilitate and reinforce their future behavior and expression. Of course, the congratulation must be sincere.
2. Teach you to relativize and positively assess your mistakes
Making mistakes is not bad, but it gives us an opportunity to learn. Timid people often have a certain fear of doing things wrong and being judged for it. Teach her that this is not the case. It's not about pretending to do everything right, but about make him see that making mistakes is positive , since in the long run it allows him to improve his performance and that is not going to be considered bad for that reason.
3. Do not signal or criticize
Closely linked with the previous one. A child who feels insecure will not feel better because we tell him he is shy or criticize his lack of action. It is a mistake that, although it seems surprising, many people commit in their attempt to spur on their little ones, as an outburst of badly directed anger or even without realizing it.
4. Increase positive self-instructions and self-reinforcements
Timid people often underestimate their achievements and maximize their mistakes , as well as not self-reinforcing enough for the former. It is also common for self-instructions to be given with negative or dubious tints, such as the typical "I can not ..." or "I do not know ...".We must try to change these ways of self-directing, as well as congratulate yourself when you do things right.
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5. Generate socialization opportunities
A good way to try to help shy children to overcome their shyness is to facilitate the existence of situations in which they can test and face their insecurities and meet people. For example, going to the park with him allows not only to share time together but also to be able to get in touch with their peers . It is important that at least initially the parent or a trusted figure is present or in the vicinity, the child can seek support and feel more secure.
6. Do not force it!
Although it seems contradictory with the previous point, it is not. It is one thing to make it easier for the child to have social contact, but it is quite another to force him to do so when he does not want to or force him to play with or to approach children he does not know or want to know. This will be seen as an imposition and as something aversive , appearing resistances and making it difficult for timidity to really come to an end. It is about the child flowing naturally, not how or when we want him to do it.
7. Overprotection does not help
It is logical that we want our children, students or children in general to be safe and happy at all times. And as we have said, criticism, signaling and the experience of social action as an obligation do not help but harm the possibility of increasing their self-confidence. But putting them in a bubble where everything is good, everything is done to them and where nothing bad ever happens can also lead to the same thing: the child may feel unable to face real life , not knowing how to react to environmental and social demands or to possible aversive elements.
8. Give example
The little ones imitate what they see at home since childhood. One way to help them overcome shyness is to make models with respect to interaction with others. If they conceive that proactivity and socialization are something normal, they will learn the ways of making them observe and it will be easier for them to act in the same way.
9. It favors your decision making and your responsibility
One way to encourage the child to feel more confident about himself is to make him a participant in decision-making. Propose to him to decide things, however minimal they may be (for example, where you want to go or what you want to play), and make them effective allows you to see that your opinions are taken into account and have an effect on reality.
Another of the aspects that can help shy children that their character does not interfere or even that this feature decreases is the realization of activities of interest. Writing, board games, sports, painting, music, dance or cooking are some examples of activities that you may like, and whose domain can increase self-confidence. Of course, again we remember that you have to like the child and not be an element of pressure.
11. Theater or role plays
Although it could actually be included in the previous section, this element has been separated because in it the child must take the role or role of another person or being, representing a series of characteristics and ways of doing that do not have to be their own. . The child can learn and observe other ways of acting. The interpretation also tends to favor the emergence of improvisation and have a fast pace that although demanding does not usually leave much time to assess whether things are doing well or badly.
12. Encourage expressing
It is important to keep in mind that shy children tend to keep things to themselves. Therefore it is useful to use techniques and activities that allow their expressiveness. Drawing, symbolic play or creating stories with him are good ways to do it.