Shyness is very common in children. Think of how often a very young child is afraid of strangers. Perhaps a child hides when a service person comes to visit, or even during a visit from Uncle Charlie or Aunt Freda. On the other hand, a child may seem to be gregarious in his or her early years, but may develop shyness later on. Why is this, and how to help your child get over shyness?
It’s often easier to make friends as a child. A child shares his toy truck in the sandbox, learns another child’s name, and presto! He has made a friend. Children who live down the street are natural candidates for friendship. And the various social mores aren’t as complicated when we are children. There is no Emily Post or big books of etiquette that must be read before going to the playground!
When we age, social interactions and conversation become more complex. It becomes handy to know a little about a lot of different things, so that one can talk intelligently about another’s interests.
Activities become much more centered around conversation than on doing. Interactions are not so much “Let’s go play on the swings” as they are about the latest cool movies, or video games, or pop culture. Plus, age differences can enter into the picture. A younger child may look up to and admire an older child, but may find it that much harder to make conversation because of the age difference.
Shyness doesn’t matter as much during early childhood. There are always toys, books, and movies, and around adults, silence is often mistaken for good manners. But as one progresses through the school years, especially when one approaches high-school age, socializing becomes more and more important. There are dating, proms, and dances. So when a child seems to develop shyness later in childhood, is it really a matter of “becoming” shy? Or is it simply a matter of the world becoming complex faster than one can handle?
How to help your child get over shyness? You should take things gradually. Don’t try to force him or her into unfamiliar or scary situations. In fact, how you interact with your child yourself may be the most important thing.