Don’t fret: Shyness among children is common. Everyone feels shy from time to time — adults and children — and it is often beyond our control. Read what a Renown pediatric nurse practitioner says about how we can help our kids overcome shyness.
What causes children to be shy? Many children are just naturally bashful or more sensitive than other children. In some cases, shyness is situational — like the first time your child rides the school bus or goes to a new class. Shyness can be a reflection of past experiences as well. Often situational shyness will go away on its own. And in some cases, shyness can actually be a good thing: Your child is more likely to observe their surroundings before acting and is less likely to talk to strangers.
If shyness is impeding your child’s ability to participate in regular activities or perform simple tasks this can be a problem. There are some people who are so shy that they can’t do simple day-to-day tasks like buying a movie ticket, ordering a meal at a restaurant or leaving the house because they’re afraid of meeting new people. In these cases, shyness is becoming a barrier to activities of daily living.
Helping Your Child Overcome Shyness
For situational shyness, it can be helpful to practice a few behaviors that make them nervous. For example, if your child is nervous about speaking in front of their peers, you can have them practice in front of a mirror or in front of people they trust in order to become comfortable. If they are working on meeting new people, have them practice how they would approach a new person with you or other people they already know.
The more they practice, the less likely they’ll feel overwhelmed when they encounter the situation. If your child’s shyness is so severe that they aren’t able to participate in regular activities, it is impacting their school performance or you are just concerned, talk to your pediatric provider for guidance.