Not all children are born to be social butterflies – and that’s ok. It doesn’t mean that you, the parent, are doing anything wrong in terms of your child’s development. It just means that they need a little bit of extra support to help them feel more comfortable in certain social situations.
Shyness should never be treated as a bad thing. In fact, many children who are on the more timid side have proven to be more empathetic and are better listeners. As a parent, you can encourage your child and remind them that it’s okay if they aren’t as loud or talkative as other children in child care.
At Vivvi, we believe that all children should get the opportunity to learn and play in an environment that makes them feel comfortable and safe. In this article, we will look at how to recognize that your child may have social anxiety and the ways in which child care centers and preschool activities help children to build their confidence.
Understanding Shyness in Children
Shyness can be a blessing. While your child may not be the first person to put their hand up during group participation or may not feel comfortable singing a song in front of their grandparents, they have a different skill – the ability to listen.
Timid children tend to stay present and observe everything that goes on around them. Developing focused attention and active listening is an essential part of the child development journey and teaches them vital life skills.
Shy children will often take their time before responding calmly to questions and may take a little longer to warm up to people they’ve just met. However, if your child tends to prefer to be by themselves or finds it hard to make eye contact with others, this could be a sign that they have social anxiety.
Social withdrawal is a common coping mechanism for those children where their shyness causes them anxiety or prevents them from reaching normal childhood milestones – making friends and taking part in preschool activities.
While there’s nothing wrong with a child being shy, it’s important to recognize if your child is feeling anxious.
How to Build Confidence in Children
Building confidence in a child that is shy may just mean getting them to a point where they feel comfortable with a trusted adult. There are many tips that you can try at home which will help your child feel more comfortable in various social situations such as:
- Give them one-on-one attention: It is important that you allocate time every day where you can interact with your child – just the two of you. Use this time to ask them questions, or engage in a focused activity. For example, if you read a book together, ask them what was their favorite part. Including your child in conversations and listening to what they have to say lets them know that what they have to say is important – because it is.
- Set up playdates: Children that are shy often feel more vulnerable in a large group. Setting up a one-on-one playdate with a friend will help them to practice their social skills in the comfort of a familiar space without any pressure. This will allow them to socialize at their own pace.
- Practice social situations: Sometimes a child will withdraw in a social situation if they are unfamiliar with it – which is completely understandable. Try practicing different scenarios such as meeting another child for the first time or trying something new at the playground. Talk about what they’re going to do or say in advance so they understand what to expect. This can make them feel more prepared and less vulnerable.
- Support them: Always remind your child that it’s ok to feel shy. Be patient with them and encourage them to try new social situations without pressuring them.
How Child Care Helps Shy Children Feel More Confident
At Vivvi, our teachers are trained in recognizing and adapting to your child’s needs. We want all children to feel comfortable and safe while in our care. We do this by creating a warm and engaging learning environment that is supportive of all children – regardless of how timid they are.
While putting your child in a child care setting may seem counterintuitive for combatting their shyness, it can have the opposite effect. We understand that it will take time for your child to warm up to a new social environment, that’s why we are here every step of the way.
Below is a list of the top ways that enrolling your child in an early learning environment can help them build their confidence.
1. Helps Them to Build Self-Esteem
For some shy children, helping them to recognize their self-worth will allow them to build both self-esteem and confidence.
At Vivvi, there are no small moments in a child’s day, and we celebrate all of their achievements. For example, if they’re kind to a friend, we let them know that we appreciate it. If they learn a new word or explore an activity for the first time, we recognize and celebrate their actions.
By supporting and encouraging them in making even the smallest of steps, it helps to build their confidence.
2. Allows Them to Socialize
When you enroll your child at a Vivvi campus, they’ll be in a class full of children the same age as themselves. Day after day they’ll take part in early learning and preschool activities such as painting, dancing, and reading together. They’ll play together and sing the same songs.
Your child will have the ability to socialize in a way and at a pace that feels comfortable to them.
3. Teaches Them How to Trust
Children begin learning how to trust others in infancy, however, it has been found that many shy children can be hesitant to trust and may feel vulnerable while in the company of an adult they don’t know very well.
By enrolling your child in a child care setting it will help to understand that those adults that provide consistent care and encouragement are trustworthy. This will not only help your child to warm up to others quicker but it will make them feel safer which can lessen any feelings of anxiety they may be feeling.
4. Helps Them Identify Their Best Traits
Another way child care helps shy children is by identifying their best traits. Our teachers understand that not every child wants to be the center of attention.
But that isn’t to say they don’t have unique skills. At Vivvi, we focus on what makes your child unique and special.
Vivvi’s inquiry-based Learning Model helps children to engage in early learning by building a curriculum around their interests. We believe this emphasis on their best traits and interests builds their confidence and helps them become their best self.
Interested in Enrolling Your Child With Vivvi?
If you’re interested in learning more about how we help your children thrive, book a tour of one of our campuses today or learn about our individualized in-home care. We’re more than happy to show you around and discuss how we can help nurture your child’s unique qualities.