In order to set goals that will promote positive change for your shy child, you must think about what interactions you would like to change. If your child struggles with school due to shyness, your goal may be that your child will be more comfortable at school, but what would this look like? This is when objectives become necessary so that you will be able to determine whether the child is achieving their goals or not. A goal of increased comfort at school may be accompanied by objectives such as, “My child will eat at least 50% of her food at lunch, My child will make eye contact with teacher and speak to him/her, My child will complain of fewer stomachaches in the morning (Markway & Markway, 2005)."
Goals must be realistic and achievable, which means that they must be measurable. Objectives can be documented to show progress, regression, or stagnation in the movement towards goal obtainment. Perfection is not desired, but effort and progress are. Many of Ramsey’s (2003) suggestions apply in this process, “Encourage your child to try again, recognize your child’s good intentions even though the follow-through doesn’t always happen, notice when your child does something better and praise effort- not just success."
Shy children often do not believe in themselves and will not until they gain another perspective of themselves. When you observe and listen to children you will pick up clues on how they view themselves, which shapes how they engage in the world (Ramsey, 2003). Parents must not only see, but also express, the best in their children in order for it to benefit their children. Although Ramsey (2003) was not specifically referring to shy children, he said not to be afraid to give your daughter karate lessons because the martial arts teach poise, grace, and self-confidence, as well as self-defense. This advice extends to the shy child for several reasons. If a shy child seems to have talents that would benefit the use of their body in martial arts, they may uncover hidden inner resources and increase their self-esteem. A shy child may also benefit from use of body instead of words to represent themselves in physically strong manner. Finding and encouraging any passions of shy children will empower them to develop into their best selves.