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How to Spot Shy Children in the Classroom & Use Confidence Building Techniques

written by: Patricia Gable • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 1/20/2012

Shy Children often hesitate to interact with other individuals in society, especially in the school where they spend much of their time. Teachers can try building confidence in these children in simple ways.

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    Why Be Shy?

    Almost half of the entire world’s population is deemed to exhibit shyness at some point of their lives. If we notice a group of children playing in the school playground, there will be at least one kid who will be away from the play group, either watching his peers or daydreaming. Shyness can be defined as one’s reluctance to engage in a social activity because of the fear of being embarrassed in an unfamiliar situation. Shy children can blossom if you try building confidence in them.

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    Recognizing Shy Children

    In a classroom, children with varying degrees of shyness can be found. A shy child hardly engages in social conversations or volunteers for any social activities. Watch out for signs such as daydreaming, anxiousness in public, speaking in very low voice, and reluctance to use the restroom or to have lunch. A child who does not join any kind of group activities with his/her classmates can also be considered as shy. Such children refuse to speak in public and suffer from lack of confidence.

    Shy children always tend to remain socially withdrawn. When the teacher asks a question to the entire class and hands go up, a shy child would at times not raise his/her hand just because he/she is afraid to speak in front of the entire class. Shyness in children can also reach an extreme level where professional help is required. For instance, an autistic child or a dyslexic child can appear socially withdrawn.

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    Overcoming Shyness With Help

    Teachers can help shy children to overcome their fears through proper attention and care.

    Following are some of the tips for working with shy children:

    • Shy children should be encouraged to get involved in group activities. Initially, the child may resist as he/she would be self-conscious and unwilling to initiate himself/herself in such activities. In such case, the child can be placed among smaller peer groups that comprise kids whom he/she is comfortable with. Then, later, changing the members of the particular “play group” would gradually help in increasing his/her self-confidence.
    • Never criticize the child nor allow other children to tease or bully him/her just because of shyness. Education of the peers is also very necessary in this case as it helps the child to move out of his shell without any hassles. Teach the child to resist or say no to teasing in a healthy manner. The child can also be encouraged to initiate conversation with his peers.
    • Have healthy conversations with the shy child. Encourage them to do their favorite extracurricular activity. One-on-One sessions will also help in forming an emotional bond with the child, which would help him/her in sharing his/her favorite activities or books or even the factors or events that trouble him. This would eventually help in assisting the child to overcome his shyness.
    • If the child is found to be good in an activity such as painting, he/she can be allowed to assist younger students who are interested to learn about painting. In this way, the child can pursue his interest and also improve his/her social interactions with other children.
    • At times, the reason for shyness is often a shy parent. Once the teacher recognizes this, then the child’s parents should be given the necessary tips that should be followed at home. For instance, if the child does not speak much to his/her parents and vice versa, the parents should be advised to initiate conversations at home with the child so that he/she would not have difficulties while conversing in public.
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    Importantly, the child should be made aware of the fact that shyness is not a disorder. Neil Armstrong, Albert Einstein, Tom Hanks to name just a few are great examples of all those great people who were once shy in their lives. All these steps would definitely go a long way in helping the child to break the thin bubble of shyness around him. Building confidence in shy children should be your goal. As they begin to blossom, you will understand one reason why you became a teacher!

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    Resources

    http://www.loveourchildrenusa.org/teachingkidsselfesteem.php