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Suggestions for helping shy kids

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Shyness is a common issue for kids. It's not unusual for them to feel apprehensive about strangers, new situations or large crowds.

Help your child's shyness issue by acknowledging it with them and reassure them you're going to try and help them. Tell them it's ok to feel shy once in a while.

If they're starting a new school, see if you can arrange a play date with one or two other families ahead of time. Making a friend before school starts can make the transition much easier.

Invite kids over for play dates but limit it to one at a time. Some kids do better in a one on one situation. Host the first one at your house and then move the location to other places, like the playground, for subsequent play dates.

If they're starting a new activity, tell them you'll sit and watch but warn them you're going to blow a kiss and leave after a specific amount of time. Gradually decrease the amount of time you stay and watch.

Don't force your child to give hugs and kisses, even to family members. Do encourage them to be polite and acknowledge people talking to them. They can do this by waving or giving a high 5.

Kids like knowing what to expect so give as much information as possible to ease their potential discomfort.


You can do a lot of practical things to help gently encourage a shy kid to be more outgoing. I'd suggest doing it very gradually, though, starting by inviting one friend over for half an hour at home, then moving to more friends, more time and then outside the home. We all have hopes for our children based on our own regrets, so it can be a difficult thing for a shy parent to have a shy child. The thing to remember is that the majority of children will find their way through all of this with a bit of guidance and good mentors.

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Suggestions for helping shy kids
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