Were you ever embarrassed of your child when they did not want to greet someone or started nagging at you wanting to go home because they were ‘scared’? And as your toddler is clinging to your leg and won’t leg go or say a peep, are you thinking…how are you scared of the lady you saw five times already? Is there a monster I can’t see?
I am here to tell you today that it is perfectly normal for a toddler to be shy. They get their moods sometimes. One day they will be fine and the next they don’t want to speak to anyone. The fairies probably took their tongue last night while sleeping! Haha. There is many different scenarios when toddler start getting shy, it can happen all of a sudden, it can happen around a certain age, it can develop over time depending on the how social they are, or they can become shy and introverted as part of their personality.
However, there is 2 main reasons for toddles to be shy:
- Your child is an introvert
- They take slow to warm up towards other people
- Your child developed separation anxiety.
- Separation anxiety usually peaks between 10 and 18 months but it will be over soon after that when they develop into their own character and take more notice of the interactions with other children and the environment around them
However, as you will learn below, there is a few ways to distinguish whether your toddler being shy is normal or not. Also shy children have trouble making friends and it can affect your child’s emotional health and sense of self. So if your child doesn’t grow out of their shyness after some time, which you as a parent can gauge the best, it’s important to take steps to make your child not so shy.
ThinkBaby Advice: Before a party or event, ask all family and friends to approach your child slowly and let them reach out when they feel ready to do so, instead of pressuring them to talk when they don’t want to. It will make them more shy and clingy and most probably will end in tears!
When It Can Start Being a Problem
According to Heidi Gazelle, a senior lecturer in Developmental Psychology from the University of Melbourne, children tend to out grow their shyness during primary school.
You do not have to worry if your child is shy towards adults (especially men), but it might be concerning if they are shy towards other children their age. Children who engage in very little social interaction in comparison to children their age are missing out on the following important learning experiences:
- to take turns in play and conversation,
- negotiate a mutually joint activity,
- express their point of view in an acceptable way
Children tend to be shy with familiar classmates because they are scared about how the other kids will treat them and if they will like him or not.
How to Make Your Toddler Grow Out of Being Shy
As I mentioned before, it is not alarming if your child is shy, but once your child’s shyness interferes with your family activities or is often miserable, then it is a concern, because then it means they may be lonely. Remember, if they do not have friends (maybe 1 or 2 friends) they are not familiar to socialize in groups, even if it is with family.
If their shyness continues for an extended period of time, consider a child psychologist when your child’s shyness prevents them from going to friends’ parties or allowing you to visit your friends.
As a parent, you can also help your child overcome their shyness. Or at least help them to manage their shyness. You can arrange play dates. When you have a shy kid, and he/she comes home after school, all upset because they fought with their friend – encourage them to try to resolve the problem instead of just letting him end the friendship. Also, encourage them to interact with other friends as well. Your home environment can play a major role too. If the parents are arguing that doesn’t help the child’s psychological state. If that may be the case, make sure you try to keep a healthy relationship with your husband or wife. You can surprise your spouse with a gift, women love jewellery, try a vintage gem stone.
Do not push your child to socialize with others. There is a reason why they are shy and it is just part of their personality. Only start interfering once it has gone on for an extended period of time.
Help them feel comfortable during social events and let her warm up on her own pace, rather than pressuring them to talk and interact.
And lastly, if your child is being excluded or victimized by other children, put a stop to it! Contact the school to advocate on your child’s behalf.