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How to overcome shyness?

A friends almost 4-year-old little girl is very shy when around children her age -- that she does not know very well. Not just a little shy, but A LOT shy -- to the point of crying and refusing to even participate in whatever they are doing. Her cousin was there playing (who she really likes to play with) -- but she completly refuses if she doesn't KNOW every single child there!
How would you suggest we help her in overcoming this -- even a little? We arranged a few playdates with several of the children prior to todays soccer practice, so she knew a couple of the kids, but wouldnt even kick the ball until practice was over and everyone had left.


Asked by BaileysMom476 at 9:11 PM on Mar. 11, 2011 in General Parenting

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Answers (5)
  • I was an extremely shy child. My parents didn't know how I would ever go to kindergarten because of being so shy. They ended up getting me into headstart just so I could be with other kids whether in my own home or away in a classroom setting. I had a really great teacher who worked with me a lot (bringing other kids into my house for class or taking me to class somewhere). I was only 4 yrs old, but I remember crying & hugging on to my mom so tightly that 2 adults had a hard time prying me away so that I could go to pre-school. I also remember taking off running into a field when my teacher showed up to take me to pre-school. Eventually, it got better to where I could at least go to kindergarten & make friends and be away from my parents. I was still shy, but I could socialize & interact with other kids. I would just continue trying the play dates & hopefully things will get better.

    Answer by soccermom0002 at 9:22 PM on Mar. 11, 2011

  • I would also suggest pre-school or some other type of class if she doesn't do that already. My younger daughter was only 6 months old when I became a stay-at-home mom so she was just used to being with me all the time. There was a period of time where she would scream & cry if we tried leaving her with someone else. I wouldn't say she was really shy, but just wasn't used to being away from me. I enrolled her in pre-school a year earlier than my other daughter just to get her used to being away from me part of the day. I didn't want her to go off to kindergarten & have a difficult time being away from me. It worked very well. Although it may be really tough at first, if she regularly spends a part of her day/week at pre-school, she will get used to being around other kids. This will hopefully help with the shyness. Best of luck!

    Answer by soccermom0002 at 9:26 PM on Mar. 11, 2011

  • I too suggest pre school. I have a VERY shy DD myself. I was a nervous wreck about her even starting pre school. Honestly, it has been REALLY good for her. I see her starting to come out of her shell. She's been better about playing with kids when we go to the park too.


    Answer by KairisMama at 9:58 PM on Mar. 11, 2011

  • I would make sure the play dates are one on one at first. The more people there, the worse the shyness usually gets.

    If the child does better when the mother isn't around to hide behind, then the parent must be trained to leave the child.

    Answer by tsinj at 8:26 PM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • Thanks soccermom -- love your handle by the way! She actually does go to pre-school -- and does ok there. She actually seems more shy when her moms around though?

    Comment by BaileysMom476 (original poster) at 9:32 PM on Mar. 11, 2011