Shyness in social situations is extremely common, particularly for younger children. Studies show that most people experience some forms of shyness and fall somewhere on a scale between shyness and boldness. It is only when shyness prompts a withdrawal from social interaction that it becomes excessive and therefore worrisome. The good news is that this sort of problem shows up early.
Children who are inclined to be excessively shy may well develop social anxieties that hinder their development on many levels. But the earlier that parents can identify an issue and begin working with the child, the more likely it is that they will be able to ameliorate the effects of excessive shyness. Your child may never be particularly bold, but they will be able to interact normally with other people in social settings.
Studies on the matter have shown that shyness is likely related to genetic predisposition. You may be shy yourself or perhaps one of your parents or siblings is. Alternatively, no one in the family may be shy at all-shyness may be in your genes, but experts agree that it is also a trait that must be environmentally triggered. These triggers might include:
If your child has a problem with excessive shyness, it may make itself apparent as early as two to three years of age. There are definite signs of this type of personality bent in a child's early years. These might include a discomfort with new people and situations or your child might show signs of a more serious issue, such as:
If you think that your child may have an issue with excessive shyness there are things you can do to help them develop some social confidence. Begin as soon as you notice the issue. You should start by trying to build your child's confidence up so listen to them and engage with how they feel in social situations. Share your own experiences with shyness in an effort to show them that they are not alone in their discomfort.
You should also try to be supportive verbally. Rather than scold your child for shy behavior, make sure that you find reasons to praise them. Finally, help your child get used to tackling social situations by creating safer social settings for them to try out. For example, invite a single child of the appropriate age over for your child to play with. Shy children will feel more comfortable on their home turf and prefer one on one interaction to groups.