Parents often wonder how to approach the subject of shyness in school. If that’s a concern of yours, wait and see how comfortable your child is in class. Don’t begin the school year by telling the teacher your child is shy; the teacher may treat her differently or anticipate problems. If your child feels self-conscious about being made to speak in class, schedule a conference at school. Let the teacher know you don’t want your child to receive negative messages about shyness. You have to correct any adult who believes she can change your child’s personality.
Many teachers prefer quiet students. Your reserved child may be rewarded for her behavior, perhaps more than you would wish. One shy kindergartner received stickers at school for being so “good” and quiet. Then, during a school conference, the teacher told the parents the girl was very shy. “But you reward her for being quiet!” her parents replied. They asked the teacher to stop reinforcing her shy behavior and instead reward her for finishing her work or participating in class.
Sometimes your child will come home from school or play feeling frustrated because she couldn’t participate comfortably. She may become whiny or demanding. Accept that she needs understanding and an outlet for her feelings. If she feels comfortable enough, she may talk to you about shyness and how it sometimes interferes with activities. Certainly as she gets older, an accepting atmosphere at home will make it easier for her to share her thoughts.
You may be convinced that your child will always be shy, but it’s hard to predict the path she’ll take. Some kids who are extremely shy during the preschool and elementary years may gradually become more outgoing. In any case, your job is to accept your child as she is and help her find activities and situations that make her feel good.