Children are often naturally reserved when it comes to new situations, and it takes time to build up their confidence and self-esteem. But what if their shyness is stopping them from participating in activities at nursery or preventing them from making new friends?
1. Refrain from using labels
Often parents will overcompensate for their child’s shyness and apologise to other parents for their reserved behaviour. They label their child as “nervous” or “shy” which often sticks, and the child feels that they cannot change this. The word “shy” is also often perceived as negative, which can cause the child to feel embarrassed that they have this personality trait, which can ultimately lead to even more shyness. Instead, try to describe your child’s behaviour in ways which don’t include the word “shy”. For example, you could say, “Joe just needs time to adjust to new situations.”
2. Do not reprimand children for displaying shy behaviour
Although it can be frustrating when a child exhibits shy behaviour and refuses to talk to others, it is important not to berate your child in public. The last thing a shy child wants is the spotlight on them, so it is best to discuss the issue in private. Similarly, if you want to praise your child for being more confident, it is also best to do this in private too, because any attention can create embarrassment for the child, and ultimately lead them to become more shy.
3. Join an after school or holiday club
Gently pushing your child outside of their comfort zone can increase your child’s confidence in dealing with new situations. A great way to do this is to enrol your child in an after school and holiday kids club. Making new friends and participating in new hobbies can improve your child’s social skills and independence, which creates a greater level of confidence and self-worth. If this is something that appeals to you, check out our holiday club page for additional information.
4. Build your child’s self-esteem
Children with high self-esteem are less likely to be shy. Identify your child’s strengths and interests and build on them with praise and encouragement. Providing encouragement can help your child to view himself as a valued and capable human being, which helps them to feel more confident in social situations. However, be careful not to over-praise your child. Over-praising makes children feel like they no longer need to push themselves out of their comfort zone, and inaccurate over-praising leads them to doubt any praise that they may receive in future, for fear of it not being genuine. Ensure that when praising your child, it is when they display their strengths or positive behaviour.
Are you looking for a day nursery that can support your child and help to boost their confidence? Little Acorns Nursery prides itself on helping children settle into nursery life and reassuring parents whose children take longer to adapt to this new environment. Contact us here for more information.