But when children are shy all the time, their shyness can become a problem.

Shy children tend to like themselves less and have a harder time making friends. Their shyness might also restrict their learning.

Unknowingly, parents can promote their children’s feelings of shyness. For example, children’s shyness can increase if their parents:

• Constantly call attention to what others think of them.

• Dote over them and allow them little autonomy.

• “Label” them as shy.

To help children become more confident and less inhibited, parents can:

• Know and accept children as they are. Get to know and show respect for your child’s interests and feelings.

• Build self-esteem. Praise children when they demonstrate new skills.

• Teach social skills. Role-play the use of “social skill words” like please and Can I play too?

• Promote a fresh start. Help your child find new groups of peers to play with and with whom she might achieve a higher peer status.

• Don’t push children into new situations they see as threatening. Take time to help your child feel more secure by luring her into social interactions with interesting materials or information.

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