Advice for helping your shy child

Educational Psychologist Michele Borba, EdD, shares advice for parents on the best ways to help their shy child overcome his or her social anxiety
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Advice for helping your shy child

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Keep in mind that your child has a biological temperment to be shy or a little bit more of an extrovert. Your goal is not to change your child´s personality or their temperment. You cannot. But instead to really help your shy child feel more comfortable and confident in life, there are a few things that you can do to reduce his or her anxiety. First is teach three skills. There are the most highly correlated traits of well-liked kids. Well-liked kids, they smile. They use eye contact and they encourage. If you just keep reinforcing always look at the color of the talker´s eyes or if you don´t feel comfortable here, look here, it actually helps your child feel more comfortable a setting. Number two, realize that shyer kids need warm up time. Don´t push them too quickly. Instead, allow them to just sit and watch and then gently encourage them to go towards just one child, not the whole group. Stop rescuing or speaking for your child. That is not going to help. Instead, teach them some tools like when you go to the birthday party, the first thing that is going to happen is the mommy is going to be there so you can run in and say hi, my name is. Practice and rehearse. Just one little skill at a time over and over until your child finally feels comfortable on his own. And you will actually help your shyer child fit in and feel more comfortable with life.

Educational Psychologist Michele Borba, EdD, shares advice for parents on the best ways to help their shy child overcome his or her social anxiety

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Michele Borba, EdD

Educational Psychologist

Michele Borba, EdD is a Today Show contributor and recipient of the National Educator Award. She is recognized for her practical, solution-based parenting strategies and is an expert of bullying. Michele is the author of 22 books including Building Moral Intelligence and No More Misbehavin’. She appears as an expert on shows such as Dr. Phil, The View, and CNN and is an advisory board member for Parentsmagazine. 

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