Does your child avoid socializing or interacting with others? Does he/ she have problems talking to strangers? Does he/ she fear attention and despise being in the spotlight? If your child is exhibiting these signs, then he or she is most probably suffering from shyness which is commonplace for all children turning two or three.
Child shyness reveals itself when someone talks to the child, or when attention is focused on them whether in a pleasant manner, as on their own birthday, or in less amusing situations. A nursery teacher can spot a child’s shyness when they are asked to talk in front of their classmates. The child might get sweaty or suffer from some stomachaches which are signs that a teacher might notice. Shy children might also avoid playing with their peers, never engage in conversations, and turn away from new, unfamiliar faces or situations no matter how pleasant they are.
According to psychologists, shyness is a psychological problem that exists on the same continuum where emotional tensions do, and it can be addressed in different ways once the causes are identified. Shyness can be traced back to a range of reasons, and physical problems that affect the child’s appearance make up most of them. Other common reasons are related to the children’s upbringing like their heavy reliance on others, being granted little or no opportunity to express their desires, criticizing them in the presence of peers or strangers, or other reasons related to family breakdowns.
The first step to treat shyness starts at identifying its main causes, then encouraging the child follows in order to boost their self-confidence. You can achieve this by emphasizing your child’s good qualities in his or her presence. Parents are also advised to cooperate with the nursery to get their shy child involved in team games, assign them tasks within their capabilities, and praise them in front of their peers.
At ‘Little Academy Nursery’, our teachers work hard to get all the children involved in team games. We also run “discussion time” for them to open up and talk about themselves or anything they wish to share, which should help greatly with their shyness.
Furthermore, not comparing your child to other children and using positive, assuring words prove impactful. You can use words of encouragement such as “You are special”, or “You were wonderful when you played with your friend”. Parents should also make sure to provide the child with a sense of security at both home and the nursery. It goes without saying that children need to be shown love and care to be able to overcome their shyness. During holidays, parents can take their children on picnics and help them make new friends.
Psychologists warn that neglecting the early treatment of shyness can lead to some serious complications like the child’s loss of ability to adapt later in the school. That might, in turn, lead to difficulties related to academic achievement which would start as minor personal disorders that can mount up to depression. Moreover, some psychological studies have shown that difficulties with reading, writing and/or math are mainly caused by shyness and the child’s low self-esteem.