What to do:
Self-talk. Say to yourself, "I love my child as she is. It's okay that she may need practice to be more comfortable in social situations. I can cope with her acting shyly."
Empathy. Tell yourself, "I understand my daughter's nervous feelings around people she doesn't know and in places that are new. I've felt that way before."
Teach. Tell yourself, "I can help my child learn how to be more self-confident around other people and in new places."
Play Question and Answer. Play role-playing games several times a day for several days until your child is comfortable answering questions, such as her age or name: Say, "When someone asks your age, tell her 4. Now, let's play. When I ask you your age, tell me your answer." Do this for school situations, too. Say, "When your teacher asks, 'What's your name?', say Samira. That way, she'll know who you are. Let's play."
Make Family Time, Talk Time. Say, "What book would you like to read this morning?" Then ask your child to tell the story in her own words, ask questions and tell her feelings. Praise her behavior by saying, "Thank you for answering me. I like your sharing!"
Practice with Family and Friends. Provide your child opportunities to participate in conversations. For example, say, "What do you think would taste good on our pizza tonight?" or, "Tell your dad about your trip to the zoo today." If you have more than one child, take turns by calling each child by name and asking specific questions of each child. If one child talks more than another, use a phone timer to limit each child's time.
Praise your Child's Behavior. When you see your child in a school program or greeting a friend at the park, for example, say, "I loved your singing in the play!" or "How fun to say 'hi' to your buddy on the playground!".
What not to do:
Don't Humiliate, Shame or Punish. Don't hit, spank, slap, threaten, yell, belittle, call your child names or blame her by telling her that she's ruined an event, such as Thanksgiving Dinner, because she was too shy to come to the table. Don't humiliate her by telling her, "Don't be so silly!" when she's afraid to do something. These hurtful reactions will discourage her from becoming comfortable with others.
Don't Apologize and Label. Apologizing for her behavior by telling others "she's your shy child" or saying "she doesn't speak" will only deepen her fear of others and tells her that she can't behave differently.
Don't Beg. Doing so will give attention to her not being part of conversations or events, and discourage her from answering questions in the future.
© 2018 Raised with Love and Limits Foundation