Shyness in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Shyness is common in children. Life experiences can sometimes cause it. But for many children, shyness is natural.

Being shy can make social settings scary. For a very shy child, making friends and adapting at school can be hard. Very shy children may become withdrawn. This may cause social problems later in life. Shyness that causes problems with your child's daily life may be a sign of another problem. Counselling may help your child.

Most children learn to deal with their shyness, make friends, and function well over time. You can help your child develop social skills. You do this by giving gentle guidance for social situations.

Parents who are dependable, consistent, respectful, and responsive to their children help them to form a sense of security. Let your child know that he or she belongs. When a child is doing well or trying, let him or her know. This positive feedback can help your child build healthy self-esteem.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Help your child learn how to make and keep friends.
    • Teach your child social skills. Show your child how to introduce himself or herself, start conversations, deal with teasing, and politely join in play.
    • Set an example for healthy relationships with your partner, relatives, and friends.
    • Encourage your child to talk about his or her concerns and problems with making friends.
    • Talk to your child about behaviours you see when he or she is with friends. Do this later so you don't embarrass your child. Offer suggestions for improvement.
  • Don't push your child into uncomfortable situations. Doing this can hurt rather than build his or her self-confidence.
  • Reassure your child that you accept him or her.
  • Encourage positive experiences with peers. Try sports and clubs where your child can feel success and acceptance.
  • Treat your child with respect. Ask his or her views and opinions. Think about them seriously, and give meaningful and realistic feedback.
  • Listen to your child. When your child shares something with you, give him or her your undivided attention. Listen carefully. Don't ridicule or shame your child.
  • Let your child know that he or she is special. Give praise often. Even if your child's finished work does not meet your standard, find at least one good thing to say.
  • Give a positive response to your child's efforts and interests. Make specific comments, such as "I really like the face on this person you drew."
  • Support your child during his or her failures. Make sure your child knows that your love is unconditional, even when your child has made a mistake.
  • Tell your child you love him or her for who he or she is, not for what he or she does.
  • Encourage communication. Ask open-ended questions such as, "Tell me more about the math test."

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if shyness gets in the way of your child's daily life.

Where can you learn more?

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