Overcoming Shyness in Children: 6 Science-backed Strategies
By Gail Belsky
Overcoming shyness in children: 6 science backed strategies. Playdates, birthday parties, school plays. For shy kids, activities that require interaction with strangers are torturous — if not impossible. And research shows that most shy children won’t outgrow their social anxiety.
Some kids are wired to be shy, according to Samuel Putnam, a professor of psychology at Bowdoin College who has studied shyness in children. As infants, they’re troubled by new sensations, such as sharp odors and tastes. As toddlers, new social situations are upsetting.
“It’s an innate tendency,” says Putnam. “Kids can’t help it.”
But parents can help their kids overcome social anxiety and shyness by taking the following steps, says Putnam.
- Tip No. 6 to Overcome Shyness in Children: Know if they’re truly shy. There’s a difference between being introverted and being shy, says Putnam: “Some kids would rather play alone, and that’s OK. The world needs quiet people.” On the other hand, shy kids want to interact, but they get upset by it. While both types of children benefit from social interaction, shy ones need more than simple encouragement and opportunity.