My 4-year-old daughter is a little shy and tends to ask her comfort object to speak on her behalf, notably to say good morning to her nursery schoolteacher. — What can I do?
Christine Brunet, psychotherapist. A soft toy or doll plays a transitional protective role that reassures shy children. It’s a roundabout way of getting to know the person to whom they are speaking. It’s important not to belittle your daughter (by saying things such as: “Don’t go all timid on me.”). Invite her to say hello, too, instead. Caroline Khanafer, clinical psychologist. A comfort object is also a tool that enables the child to observe the adult and to cautiously make contact: “If she/he is nice to my cuddly toy, she/he will be nice to me.” This type of game makes the child feel safe about growing up. Don’t put any unnecessary pressure on her; your daughter will gain confidence at her own pace.