Encouraging shy children
FOR most children, preschool is the first time they venture out of their comfort zone. While some are immediately eager to participate and play, more reserved young ones may find their introduction to school overwhelming. As a result, they may seem quiet, withdrawn or uninterested.
Parents of shy children are often concerned about their children’s behaviour, but children have different abilities and milestones – they cannot all adapt or learn at the same pace. Adults can help ease the first school experience by acknowledging and talking through their children’s feelings while practising these steps:
– Whether it is a toy, book or pet, sharing their interests with other children allows children to open up in a way that is familiar to them while fostering a sense of belonging. Interacting with the teacher and discussing ways to integrate lessons at home could also help children who learn better at their own pace or in a familiar environment.
– Arrange play dates or outdoor activities with other children from preschool. If one- on- one interaction is hard, start by having the other child come over and play with the little one at your house, then move outdoors and
Bring their interests to school
finally to the other child’s home. Sometimes, outgoing children are able to draw out a shy child’s personality by engaging him in a trustworthy, comforting manner.
– As a caring parent, it is natural to want to protect your child by speaking on his behalf or explaining to others that he is shy. However, child psychologists warn that labelling your child in this way gives him a reason to retreat even more into his shell. Over time, “I am shy” becomes a self- fulfilling prophecy.
Children need to be given opportunities to speak for themselves and, more importantly, build their confidence. Parents can do this by reminding children that they are loved, affirming their positive values, and assuring them that it is alright to be different.
– A great way to overcome unfamiliarity is to widen the range of activities and sights that your kids are exposed to.
Take them to places with new smells, food, people or music so they can discover that the great, big world has so much to offer if they open up and interact.
It may seem scary at first but confidence is built, so give them opportunities to adapt and find their footing while gently encouraging them.
Don’t fix labels or overprotect
Expose them to new things