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Getting a shy child to talk

Cynthia John

Ever been embarrassed by your child hiding behind your legs when a visitor greets her?

While some children are shy and reserved by nature, and may remain so throughout life, most children experience short phases of shyness which will soon pass. Your attitude can make the difference between permitting low self-esteem and building confidence.

Don’t add to children’s discomfort
Some children are shy in the presence of strangers, certain acquaintances and big groups. If you keep prodding your child to talk or converse, she may retreat into a shell.

Highlighting her reticence by telling others, “She’s shy,” will most likely add to her embarrassment. The best thing is to behave like nothing is wrong.

As the conversation progresses, gradually involve her or talk about subjects with which she is comfortable. Let her participate when she is ready.

Discuss it in private
Discussing her shyness with others is one of the worst things you can do. Adults are often insensitive to the presence of children and freely make comments like, “I wonder when she will get over this silliness.” Such comments about her attitude could erode your child’s confidence and make her feel belittled.

Instead, talk to her privately at a time when she is feeling secure with you. Gently acknowledge her feelings without making her feel inadequate.

You could say something like, “Did you feel like you didn’t want to talk to Minu Aunty? She was asking me about your school’s craft classes and wanted to know how you made that key hanger. Shall we show her the book rack you made when she visits again?”

Over time, as your child gathers the confidence to face different people and situations, her diffidence will melt away.

Change your attitude
If you feel embarassed or ashamed of your child, she can sense it. Just accept her attitude as a normal process of growth and take it in your stride. She needs to know you are proud of her.

Budget decor: children’s rooms

You can have some fun with your kids decorating their bedrooms. Set apart a holiday to do the work, and you can join together to create some amazing decor.

  • Choose a theme like ‘jungle’ or ‘trains.
  • Buy some plain coloured curtains, bedsheets and tablecloths.
  •  Make some stencils using cardboard, or stampers using potatoes, based on your theme.
  • Use bold or pastel acrylic/fabric colours to make prints on the curtains and bed sheets.
  • Use a pencil to draw outlines from the stencils, then paint in the designs.
  • Make scenery on large sheets of chart paper and fix them on one wall.

There! Your themed decor is all set to delight your children and their friends!

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