How to help shy kids shine ?
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Just as kids come in all shapes and sizes, they come loaded with all manner of different personalities, too! I often see parents who are concerned that, rather than being outgoing and confident, their child is quiet and shy. Being shy isn’t really a psychological problem, though – it’s a natural display of a personality type. Shyness certainly isn’t a clinical disorder! It’s really no more abnormal than a child being overly confident and somewhat of an extrovert. Some professionals even argue that being shy is almost a gift, as shy people tend to be more passionate and creative. Similarly, shy people are often more honest, gentle, unassuming, caring and empathetic. But while shy adults may develop these valuable qualities, I believe we shouldn’t simply focus on adult outcomes. Many of the shy childen I meet are too often in alarmed, nervous and fearful states, which isn’t good for development. It’s also the case that overly shy toddlers may be at risk of developing anxieties and being left out or bullied as they get older.
Your shy tot will become more engaging and confident with positive and genuine regard and encouragement. Try to go slowly, though. Shyness indicates that she/he needs to be reassured and to feel confident at each small step. Helping your shy toddler also involves not inadvertently sabotaging development. It’s very natural to want to protect your child, but make sure that you or your shy tot’s older siblings don’t always talk for her, ‘rescue’ her or overcompensate. For instance, a simple “please” isn’t too much to ask for. Even if it’s mumbled and involves looking away, this is fine to begin with – don’t take on her role for her (“Huyen says please, Grandma”). If she can’t manage this at first, simply wait a few minutes and try again later.
Finally, overcoming shyness requires patience, reassurance and gradual development. Stick with it, continue to encourage and support your sweetie and she will eventually bloom and grow to fulfill all of the passionate, loyal and caring characteristics of shyness.