Help a shy four year old who is missing out.
June 2, 2012 1:22 PM Subscribe
How to help my four-year-old better cope with his extreme shyness, so he doesn't keep missing out on things he wants to do?
posted by Ausamor to Human Relations (14 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
My four year old son has been shy since babyhood. We've always told him its OK to be shy, and when he is reluctant to do something we give him extra time to warm up, and remind him that he usually feels much more comfortable after some time has passed. Like many shy folks, he actually loves being the center of attention among familiar people. I've always considered it part of his temperment and haven't been too concerned.
But, for the first time, he's started to articulate that he is feeling sad to be shy, because he is missing out on things he really wants to do. To give a sense of the shyness level: For instance, he never does show and tell, even when he's built something he's proud of and clearly wants his friends to see. He opts out of carnival rides once it's clear that the unknown operator will have to belt him into the car. He is clearly the shyest kid in his class of 20, by a significant margin. He sometimes even feels shy walking in to see people that he's known forever and that we see on a weekly basis. On the other hand, once he's in the swing of things, he will generally speak up and participate as long as he's not put on the spot.
Since he's expressing that it's bothering him, I want to find gentle ways to help him feel less overwhelmed by his shyness, so he can do the things he wants to. As an extremely not-shy person, I have no insight into this. Hubby is a shy-kid turned quiet-but-sociable adult, but is stumped as well. Internet/doctor advice seems geared to much older kids, or uselessly vague. I value any suggestions!