Hiding behind their moms. Peeking through a crack in the door. Lots of kids are introverted, otherwise known as shy. And that’s OK. But it can also be sort of painful for them. Growing up, shy kids struggle with a multitude of difficult situations that leave them red faced and trembling. That’s why it’s so great that you can help them to overcome their hardships. In Susan Cain’s book, The Secret Strengths of Introverted Kids (2017; Puffin Books), the author unveils certain tools parents can use to help guide introverted kids from shy to confident.
Here’s the toolkit:
• ARRIVE EARLY
When going somewhere new or even to a birthday party or other fun event that includes a lot of people, arrive early. Showing up to a new situation or environment early allows a shy child to get acclimated, as well as feel as if the newcomers are joining them.
• DO AN ACTIVITY
When starting a new activity, begin with an activity. For instance, if your shy child is just starting out in soccer, arrive early and let him start playing with the soccer ball while other kids are arriving.
• PROVIDE TALKING POINTS
While you can encourage your child to speak first, help him make a planned statement. Give your child options for things he can say to break the ice with new people and in new situations.
• REALIZE YOUR CHILD’S INVERSION IS A GIFT
While some people may not be open to your child’s introversion, understand that his personality is not a challenge — it’s a gift. When you accept that you validate him and can move forward with him to help him gain more confidence.