While growing up, most children experience the dread of speaking up in public. Shy kids find it challenging to speak in any environment, are resistant to entering a space with unknown faces, and mostly prefer to play alone. Research suggests that nearly 1 in every 5 children find the mere thought of public speaking terrifying. This often ends up impacting their self-confidence and self-belief, which can hold them back from success in the future.
Many shy children have a solid self-concept. Shyness is often a combination of emotions, including fear, apprehension, tension, embarrassment, and other similar feelings that refrains them from speaking their mind.
What can you do to help encourage shy children to build their confidence? Here are some of our tips on nurturing your shy kid’s confidence and helping them to grow into confident communicators.
1. Acknowledging your child’s shyness
It is crucial to know why your child is shy as it only becomes easier to help them overcome it. Some kids are anxious and not confident about speaking as they are not sure of the right thing to say or respond to. Others need time to be reassured and comfortable around new people. Providing comfort to shy kids becomes essential here.
2. Nurture their storytelling session
Children are natural storytellers, but a few of them lose the ability as they grow up. Encourage kids to keep narrating their own stories. One way is to make them narrate or hear social stories. Social stories are excellent to provide information about uncomfortable and challenging information.
3. Help them initiate a conversation
Confidence with speaking often lags because a child may not be sure what to say when they meet someone. Teaching shy kids basic strategies like one-line conversation openers helps them to speak in public. Encourage your child to order while eating out or answer a general question during grocery shopping. Kids may need their parents’ help when parents immediately step in and help them with what to say.
To further help kids in their effort to become confident communicators, parents can also opt for Public speaking training for kids.
4. Do role-plays
One of the simplest ways is to use some of your child’s favorite toy to role-play scenarios what may happen in real life. If your child has difficulty greeting teachers and classmates in the morning, act out the situation with his toys. The goal is to get your child to think of the things he can say in such an environment.
Engaging them in role-play boosts confidence while public speaking. It takes a while to overcome Shyness related problems in kids. Patience is the key here. Please encourage your child a little by showing your faith in him that he can do it. With persistent effort and guidance, your kid will start making friends and get social.
5. Celebrate small successes
Recognizing and celebrating your kids’ achievements, even if they seem minor, gives kids a huge encouragement boost. Making progress like initiating conversations, raising their hand in class, or answering questions can be a big deal for shy kids. Constant encouragement will help your child continue to take risks and speak out.
Celebrating your child’s success is an incredible way to nourish and encourage their progress and growth. By praising both in-therapy and everyday achievements, parents unlock one of the most powerful tools to support and connect with their child in their continued development, no matter how big or small.
6. Incorporate their interests
As a parent, recognize what your child is interested in. Follow up by using some of their interests during conversations or learning activities. Ask them to draw their interest or show it to you in books, toys, or by speaking. Listen to your child by providing them with an opportunity to talk and share.
It is important to give comfort and raise a confident child who can express their thoughts to make them better socially and academically. Kids are always keen to know that if their parents are listening and their thoughts are valued. Most children’s early experiences and hurts can cause shyness, and it is essential to embrace the child’s natural tendency to be introvert. As a parent, you can show your child this by saying so and following through. It shows your child that speaking up makes a real difference.
Samidha Raj works as part of the content marketing team at Planet Spark, a platform that provides online classes to K8 learners on “New Age Skills” like, English Communication, Public Speaking, Grammar, Creative Writing, Debating, etc. She is passionate about empowering the youth by educating parents about the importance of 21st-century skills. In her free time, you can find her watching documentaries or animated movies and organizing game nights (board games are her thing)!