View Full Version : Is your DC shy?
09-13-2007, 08:38 PM
I searched for a thread on shy children, but didn't find anything, so if it's out there and I missed it, let me know.
My DD will be 4 in October. She has ALWAYS been shy. I, too, was/sometimes still am shy, but I really, really, try not to act that way in situations with her. She's also pretty attached to me, possibly moreso since DS was born at the beginning of this year.
So now she's at the age where any type of activity is solo...not many 'mommy and me' deals out there when you're over 3. And she's not liking it. We're trying swimming that way, and while I'm not giving up, she cries.every.lesson. Even though I'm right there in the same room.
I know that lots of people say I just have to completely leave her...for example, drop her off at class and go...and that she'll be fine in a few minutes. But in her case, in my gut, I know that's not true. And I'm not comfortable with that. I don't want something that is supposed to be 'fun' to be traumatic. It's kind of like CIO for older kids...I think it's fine for some, but for me, it's not.
So my question is...if you had/have a shy child...how did/do you help him/her overcome that without too much anxiety? I'd love for her to get excited about going to dance class or preschool or something...but I'm running out of ideas of how to help her get there. FWIW, she's 'young' for her age, and always has been, so I don't necessarily feel she absolutely should already be able to do all this stuff without a problem, but I do want to help her get to that place in a good way.
My oldest who just turned 4 in July used to be VERY shy. I started her in preschool when she turned 3 and school has done wonders for her. It was a rough start. She did cry at drop-off for probably close to 2 weeks but after that, she loved school.
I don't think that being shy is a negative. For me, it was more that I felt that my DD's shyness was taking away from the fun that I know she could be having. For example, we'd be at the playground or at a birthday party and she'd be so excited to do something (whether it be a slide or running after bubbles or whatever) and then other kids would run up to take part in the activity too and my DD would shy away and just watch. For me, that was heartbreaking.
I can't express enough how much preschool has helped her. She is now a 4yo who makes friends very easily and who just started public school and didn't even look back at me the first day b/c she was so excited to get into school.
She's still shy but it doesn't affect her negatively at all anymore. She just has a more reserved personality. It was the negative impact of her shyness that made me want to help her and was my main reason for starting her in preschool when I did.
However, my methods probably won't work for you b/c you don't want to let your DD cry. I let my DD cry when she started school. It was extemely difficult so I can totally understand why you don't want to do that. I will say that a friend of mine started her son in preschool and couldn't take him crying so she pulled him out. He just started public school (we have public pre-K) and he hasn't cried once. For her, it was absolutely the right decision to hold off.
Anyway, good luck! It's not always so easy having a shy child.
09-14-2007, 11:26 AM
Thank you, dal! This:
For me, it was more that I felt that my DD's shyness was taking away from the fun that I know she could be having. For example, we'd be at the playground or at a birthday party and she'd be so excited to do something (whether it be a slide or running after bubbles or whatever) and then other kids would run up to take part in the activity too and my DD would shy away and just watch. For me, that was heartbreaking.
Is EXACTLY where I am. She could be doing so much more but her shyness holds her back...and that IS heartbreaking!
I'm definitely doing some sort of preschool....my plan was next year (because she doesn't start kindergarten until the year after that). So maybe I'll stick with these baby steps of taking classes and just keep working on it.
And it's so wonderful that your DD is so comfortable and excited about school and making friends now....I know you must be so relieved/happy :).
09-14-2007, 11:37 AM
I was a painfully shy child, and being left alone in a class full of kids I didn't know would have been terrifying. However, I could have done it if I'd been friends with at least one other kid prior to the class. Any chance you could sign her up for a class with a friend?
09-14-2007, 10:05 PM
My daughter who will also be 4 in October was incredibly shy up until about a year ago. Here is what I did which totally boosted up her confidence & is now starting to become more of an extroverted little princess. I enrolled myself & DD in tons of mom & me classes and created playgroups with people whom I had connections with. I then focused on 1 or 2 kids from those groups and had playdates on a smaller scale. I invited these kids to our house several times a week. It was exhausting but I knew one day it would really help my DD.
The other mothers & I then enrolled our kids in many activities together - ballet, gymnastics, swimming, soccer, cooking classes, preschool, etc. Since DD saw familiar faces, she started to feel comfortable without my presence. She just started her 2nd year of preshcool yesterday & had the biggest smile on her face when I dropped her off at school in the morning.
Here is what I did. I got a list of all the moms in her preschool class from her director & emailed them over the summer for park playdates. I then scoped out a couple of girls (she's starting to play more with girls vs. boys these days since she's getting older) and had them over to our house for playdates. By the time school started, she recognized many kids & of course had some girlfriends to giggle with in class.
I can totally relate to your heartaches because I've also experienced it. There were so many times when I just wanted to quit Gymboree, Kindermusik, etc. because my DD was extremely shy & it was frustrating thinking that I was wasting my money. However, my persistance & belief in my DD really paid off.
If there is one child in her swim class you or your DD might have a small connection with, befriend them. Get their number, schedule playdates so that the kids can get to know each other. From there, enroll your DD in the same swim class with that child.
Good luck & keep us posted. She'll do great with some extra help from you.
09-15-2007, 07:15 AM
At both facilities where DD has taken dance, there is a viewing window for parents to watch the class. I've noticed this comforts the kids in class and helps them transition into an independent setting.
Swimming is a huge "leap of faith" for some kids because it requires so much trust in the teacher and overcoming of fears related to the water. I did not learn to swim until I was a teenager because of a negative experience in swim class as a child.
Maybe starting with a different type of activity would make for an easier transition?
09-16-2007, 08:17 PM
Thanks for all the responses, those are great ideas.
We're doing swimming because we've been going fairly regularly since she was under a year old, but now she's graduated to (is old enough for) the next class. Despite the tears (even though I'm right there on a bench with all the other parents), she says she likes it and wants to keep going so we'll probably at least finish out this session and see if she finds a comfort level.
And I'm going to continue to encourage her during the 'mommy and me' things we do still have together...baby steps :).
09-22-2007, 06:53 PM
Just had to post a quick update...today at swimming lessons there were NO TEARS! And, toward the last few minutes of class, she was actually having fun and smiling!
But it gets better...later at the mall, she went on the kids' train all.by.herself and enjoyed it! It probably sounds silly to anyone who's DC isn't as shy and uber-attached as mine is, but I was over the moon with happiness!
09-22-2007, 10:23 PM
Oh Quest...I am SO happy to hear your DD is starting to come out of her shell. And you know what? It will get better each time she's out & about. My DD was exactly the same as your daughter when she was younger - would NOT do anything without me. But now, she's becoming more extroverted everyday. Congrats for getting your DD to this point. That's quite an accomplishment & both of you should be proud of her success. :)
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