A soft tone of voice, trembling and hesitant speech and gaze aversion, that was Karthik. He was an extremely shy kid. His parents were worried because being reserved tends to hamper social development in children, their ability to grab opportunities and attain success in life. A child’s clinginess only adds to parents’ stress.
Parents should know that shyness is a personality trait and not a negative attribute. Kids who are timid, cautious or fearful are equally capable of achieving success in life as an extrovert child, who can easily adapt to new situations. On the positive side, shy kids are more thoughtful, self-reliant, empathetic, but don’t always like to try new things instinctively.
Shyness and social anxiety disorder actually exist on a continuum. It can be hard to know if it a child’s introversion is something parents need to be concerned about or not. An article by Psychology Today stated that if a child’s controlled reactions to various social and performance related situations, hampering their ability to make and keep friends, interfering with the academic and school functioning, making the child miss out on the fun activities, is definitely something that needs to be intervened in.
In children, shyness might go away with time. They can always learn to be comfortable interacting with new people and be more confident in new settings. Here are a few things parents can do to help their child overcome shyness.
Embrace Your Kid’s Shyness
Before parents try anything new to help their child overcome shyness, they should themselves believe that shyness is just a personality trait and not a personality disorder. Their acceptance will provide the child a comforting environment where they can approach things at their own pace.
Give Them Tasks
From a very young age, children should be taught responsibility. They should be made to feel useful. For young kids, simple tasks like handing over stuff in the kitchen, putting toys in the basket, picking up clothes from the floor and bringing food from the fridge can facilitate a sense of accomplishment. This helps in developing confidence, which to a great shyness breaker.
Take Them Out Often
For a parent, their child might be a little angel, who doesn’t request them to be taken out for picnics or trips. But that’s not normal. Kids should be taken to settings where they can practice social skills. Outdoor play makes them learn new things, which they would have never known indoors.
Shy kids often stay away from people. They are mostly seen hiding behind their parents when introduced to new people. To overcome their shyness, parents can ensure more opportunities to the child to meet children their own age as well as other people.
Ensure Proper Nutrition
Sometimes, nutritional deficiency or inadequate amounts of omega 3 fatty acids in a child’s diet can be the cause of social anxiety and improper social development in children, according to an article by Good Therapy. It is really important that kids be given a balanced diet and the right nutrients for proper functioning of their brain and body.
To ensure adequate nutrition, consider including a fortified milk powder like Enfagrow A+ that contains DHA, an omega fatty acid, highly important for a child’s brain development, in your child’s daily diet.