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Introverted or Shy?

There is a distinct difference between kiddos who are shy and children who are simply more introverted and prefer spending their down time reading or drawing by themselves. In a world that seems dominated by extroverts, being an introvert, or a shy child, can be tough. Shy kiddos typically want to be more social but they can’t muster the right behavior because they become so anxious and, consequently, paralyzed. This is not the case with introverts who just have quieter interests. As a parent, you will want to help a shy child, but support an introverted child. 

Create Opportunities For Growth

Sometimes kiddos just prefer quiet time or being in small groups, but it’s essential that more introverted children still get opportunities to make friends. Start by setting the bar low to determine how much your child can handle and set your expectations accordingly. A great start is finding just one thing they like to do once a week, and build from there. Try planning playdates at home first, where your child will be most at ease. Team sports, Clubs or other activities are also a good way to make friends because they provide built-in structure that helps minimize anxiety. Some other great ideas are to have your child pay the cashier when you go out or when at a restaurant, have your child give his order to the waiter. What may seem like a simple activity can actually build up your child’s confidence and teach social skills necessary to navigate the outside world. 

Trouble With Coping Skills

Some kiddos may have trouble picking up on social cues and following “social rules.” This makes it hard for them to fit in, form friendships, and work with others. There are different reasons children have difficulty with social skills. Sometimes, the cause is temporary. But trouble with these skills is often part of larger, lifelong challenges. Tell your child about the many advantages of not being shy. Offer examples from your own life. Encourage outgoing behavior. Praise your child when they handle an unfamiliar situation or meet a new person without resorting to shyness.

Avoid Labeling Your Kiddo

Be careful not to label your kiddo as either “shy” or “introverted.” Children always rise to the level of our expectations. If your child knows that you view him or her as “shy,” they’ll likely model behavior reflecting that expectation. Our therapists evaluate and treat developmental and communication disorders of all children across the Denver Metro and surrounding communities. 

We Can Help!

Parenting your shy child, or introvert, can be challenging. But help is out there for you! Our Speech and Occupational therapists work with kiddos to improve skills needed for good social interactions, developing friendships, navigating social situations, promoting healthy relationships and developing positive peer interactions. If your child’s shyness is a source of distress, it’s best to address it now rather than later and consider using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques to address their timidity.

Occupational Therapy provides a supportive environment to build confidence, improve social skills, and develop coping mechanisms for social situations. Through activities and exercises tailored to their needs, our occupational therapists help shy children gradually become more comfortable and engaged in social interactions. Changing our perspective and how we think changes our actions and emotions. A child struggling with shyness can learn skills to help them manage their feelings rather than allowing feelings to control their behavior. Call today and let’s find the perfect fit together!