Do you have shy children?  Chances are that at least one of your children falls into the category of  “shy.”  Shy children often struggle making friends and participating in enjoyable activities.  This can leave you, as a parent, wondering if your child will ever be “normal.”  The following are a few ways in which you can encourage your child to come out of his shell.  Use the tips to help your child overcome his shyness.

1.      Find opportunities for socialization. If your child is not willing to get out there and socialize, you may have to help him out a little. Find opportunities for your child to be social.  From going to the park, to accepting birthday party invitations, there are places where you can teach your child how to be social. Attend anything and everything in an effort to help him overcome the shyness. The more he is around people, the better chances he will have in overcoming shyness.

2.      Encourage him to make friends.  Talk with your child about your childhood and relationships that you had when you were younger.  Explain the importance of having friends and how fun it can be to share ideas and time with other people.  Allow your experiences to rub off on him.

3.      Teach him to make eye contact.  Shy children often lack in socialization skills.  You may have to work on this with your child.  If someone speaks to your child, make it a rule that he has to make eye contact with the person and at least say hello.  Otherwise, his shy personality may come off as rudeness and make you look like a bad parent.

4.      Boost his self esteem.  Shy children often have very low self esteem. They need a confidence boost. As a parent, reassure your child that he or she is just as good as the other children around.

5.      Don’t label your child. Avoid labeling your child as “shy” in front of him.  If you call him shy, he is more likely to play the role.  Avoid labeling your child in any area of life unless it is positive.  Tell him he is smart and he will live up to it. Tell him he is shy and he will live up to this expectation as well. Avoid negative labeling.

6.      Discover his strengths. While communication skills may not be your child strength, there are bound to be areas that he is strong in.  Use his strengths as an avenue to help him overcome shyness. If he loves math, allow him to join the math club at school in an effort to make new friends with common interests.  If he is good at sports, be sure to enroll him in extracurricular activities that will allow him to get stronger in this area and in socializing.

7.      Praise successes. If you notice your child making an effort to overcome his shyness, be sure to praise his behavior.  Children want to please their parents. If you make a big deal out of him trying to be friendly, he is likely to continue the behavior. In contrast, be sure to point out times when he seems overly shy.  Explain that although he is only being shy, it can come off as being distant or rude.

8.      Find the root of the problem.  Is being shy hereditary or is there some other reason why your child has a fear of people?  Perhaps there is some reason why he doesn’t want to socialize.  If he is uncomfortable with the way he looks, he may be shy.  Talk with your child and try to find out the reason he avoids building relationships with people. You may be surprised to find out why he doesn’t like making friends.

Being shy is actually very normal.  Many children have reserved personalities that classify them as being shy.  If your child is struggling in this area, use the tips above to help him overcome his fears. As a parent, there are things that you can do to give your child the opportunity to learn to socialize.  Begin by talking with your child and discovering the root of the problem.  Do what it takes to help your child become the social butterfly that you know he can be. How will you help your child overcome his shyness?

Marina is SAHM of 2 kids and co-owner of a Christmas nesting doll store located at