Do you worry about your child’s shyness?  Do other people label your child shy?  Do you wonder if shyness is a problem?

In part one of this series about shyness, I talked about times/situations where shyness is normal and not a problem at all.  In part two, I listed 5 ways to help growth happen.  ) Today’s post is about practical techniques for managing challenging moments.

Some tricks for parents that can help with shyness in a pinch:

  • Daily agenda.  Sit down together at breakfast, and talk about the day.  What will you do, who will you see, what will be expected.  This will help your child prepare.
  • Arriving early & intros.  Wherever you go, get there a few minutes early.  Give your child 10 minutes to look around the room, see what/who is there.  Let them acclimate to the space.  If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of being late to an important meeting, you know how your brain takes a few minutes to start firing.  So the flip side of that is to show up early, so that your child gets additional time and space to feel centered, calm, and ready to take on their challenges.
  • Remembering transitions.  Transitions are hard for the vast majority of children.  We expect children to make dozens of transitions a day, from switching between caregivers, activities, toys, etc.  You’ll help your shy kid out by giving extra time, support, love, and warning before transitions.
  • New school: tours & interviews.  When your child starts a new school, visit it a few times in advance  (more visits for younger kids).  See their classroom, meet the teachers, find the bathroom and the lunchroom, the playground, the main office and the nurse’s office.  Meet as many people as possible–each of these experiences will make the BIG event of her first day an easier one.
  • When you talk with your child about shyness, try to use the phrase “You feel shy” as opposed to “You ARE shy.”  It’s a small difference, but it can be empowering to frame shyness as an emotional state (a feeling) as opposed to a character trait.
  • Along those lines, it can be very empowering to “reframe.”  If someone labels your child shy, perhaps you can substitute one of these descriptions instead:  reserved, a good listener, focused, peaceful, thoughtful, deep, discerning, calm.