Has your little one become literally an extension of your skirt while you are trying desperately to convince him/her to play with other children? Everything depends on proper handling.
Most of the young children are often shy or fearful in unknown situations. It is completely normal for very young children to hide when they meet strangers, to be unwilling to talk to strangers or to feel ashamed asking unknown children if they can play with them. However, this behavior fades as the child grows.
Ask for help if …
*The child is experiencing persistent fears and is trying to avoid social contact at all costs.
*Shows psychosomatic reactions in social situations (shortness of breath nausea, vomiting, crying)
Shyness may be the beginning of a social phobia. It is better treated in an early phase as the gradual change of some behaviors can help the child become more open.
Exercises of courage
Shy children should be encouraged, feel appreciated, given responsibilities and opportunities for contact with other children. Although we can’t change their temperament, according to surveys almost 90% of shy children can feel more confident if they learn:
*To be calm,
*To use eye contact,
*To speak louder and use body language.
The role of parents
According to the psychoanalyst Eric Erikson, a sense of shame occurs in 2 to 3.5 years when the child tries to become autonomous. It is important for parents to allow him/her test his/her abilities, even if he/she fails. In order to do this:
*Don’t criticize him/her in front of others when he/she makes mistakes,
*Boost his/her confidence and praise him/her for his/her accomplishments.
*Meet his/her emotional needs and help him/her enrich his/her social skills
*Don’t do things that he/she can do by himself/herself. For example, if you are at a party and he/she wants to taste the cake say «I just sat down and I’m a little bit tired. It would be better if you asked it by yourself”
*Don’t assign him/her difficult «missions» like coping with a large group of children. Start with a couple of friends with whom he/she feels familiar.