How to work with shy children

Parental influence on children in the first 12 years of their lives have a permanent effect. Unfortunately, children come with no user manual. Each child is different from the other. Discuss how to handle emotional and educational needs of your child here.

How to work with shy children

Postby mummy of 2 » Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:35 pm

Original Title: Overcoming reluctance to attend playgroup

My 2-year girl is very shy, and does not enjoy going to weekly playgroup. She does not want to participate and even cries during the lesson. She can be very active and talkative at home, but is a completely different person in school.

She has been shy since young, and would cry if starngers look at her. She is better now but still does not like to be with unfamiliar people.

Right now her playgroup allows one parent to accompany her but we are planning to switch her to the Mon-Fri playgroup, which does not allow any accompanying parent. Am worried about how she will adapt to the transistion, as we have tried it out on ad-hoc basis,a nd she would be crying non-stop :?:

Any advice?

mummy of 2
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Postby sashimi » Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:19 pm

Short answer: don't worry, separation anxiety is perfectly normal and very common. :) Kids at this age, almost all go through it. As they age, they will also change emotionally - a shy 2-year-old can later become a drama queen at 4, for example.

Kids adapt faster than most adults realize. You may have to withstand the crying for a few days, but usually the child will get used to being away from you. Naturally on an ad hoc basis, the child has no time to adapt. It takes anything from a few days to two weeks, but you must go through the crying.

So persist - steel your heart, and rem - YOU have to let go first. :) A few years from now, you will probably be the one who doesn't want to leave her!

One way to train her is to do a slow disappearing trick. Eg. you go in with her, stay for 30 mins, tell her you are going to (the toilet/outside/etc) for 10 mins and will come back. Let her cry, don't worry so long as she's in good hands. Come back in 10 mins. Stay for 25 mins, leave again, and come back again in 15. Stay for 15 mins, go away for 30 min, etc.

Try to catch her in a situation where she's immersed in something happy at school, eg. playing a game with her group, so that she can "forget" about you. Then you leave...

The other major factor is her cohort and the teachers. With a good bunch of friends and teachers, the child will adapt much faster so long as she's happy.

take care!

sashimi
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Postby mummy of 2 » Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:31 pm

Thanks for your suggestions. She does indeed become less shy over time, as she would previously cry if strangers just look at her. Now she only cries if people try to touch her :oops:

I guess just have to harden my heart and let her cry it out, otherwise she will never adapt. :cry:

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Postby schellen » Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:37 pm

She will also sense your anxiety and insecurity at leaving her on her own so not only must you harden your heart, you must convince yourself that she will be fine. Then, you will be able to "convince" her that she will be okay on her own through you body language.

schellen
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Postby mummy of 2 » Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:42 pm

Actually I'm not the one who accompanies her to her playgroup. She is super clingy to me and I know she will be even worse if I'm around, so hubby is the one who goes with her :D

I'm always very cheerful when waving goodbye to her.

Just :pray: that she wun cry for too long when she starts the daily playgroup.

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Postby schellen » Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:41 am

mummy of 2 wrote:Actually I'm not the one who accompanies her to her playgroup. She is super clingy to me and I know she will be even worse if I'm around, so hubby is the one who goes with her :D

I'm always very cheerful when waving goodbye to her.

Just :pray: that she wun cry for too long when she starts the daily playgroup.


That's good. :) Did you check with your DH how he reacts when he's there with your DD?

schellen
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Postby mummy of 2 » Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:44 am

As far as I know, he tries to hide in one corner and let her participate in whatever is going on :D

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Postby jedamum » Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:01 am

my ds1 used to attend a weekly playgroup when he was 2.5yo and suffer from separation anxiety too. the admin officer explained that as he was only exposed to once a week separation, he will never be fully 'integrated' with the school system and advised me to sign up for daily classes. I did not cos I did not like the teachers and eventually we left for another cheaper and daily nursery programme with 'older' teachers.

what the other parents mentioned is correct - we have to let go first before the kid can let go. I made the first mistake with ds1, so now with ds2, separation anxiety better managed. But then again, ds1 is the shy type unlike ds2, so character makes a difference too. But for my case, ds1, though born shy (although a chatterbox at home; very much like me though :oops:), has no issues conversing with strangers or people in authority now (P1) although he prefers to keep quiet most of the time as he said that he does feel anxious speaking up. Encourage your shy kid to speak up more. Build their confidence first before pushing them out into the public. They may still feel anxious, but they will learn to better manage their anxiety and keep the feeling in control as they face up and speak up to strangers. :)

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Postby schellen » Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:07 am

mummy of 2 wrote:As far as I know, he tries to hide in one corner and let her participate in whatever is going on :D


Trying to imagine a grown man squeezing himself into a small corner.... :lol:

Does your DD often look for your DH during that time? Not just turning around to look for him but running to where he is too. I'm just wondering since you said that she's not as clingy (or not clingy?) to your DH.

Maybe she really just needs time to adapt to playgroup on a regular basis.
When I sent my DD to playgroup, she happened to be at the age when parents were required to be around (about 2-1/2). She didn't cry or fuss but I knew she was reassured by my presence close by, even if she can't see me or have me follow her everywhere. She warmed up to the teachers quickly (rather than her peers) during those few months so when it was time to transfer her to the older group (from age 3, I think), I could leave her for 90-120 minutes without any problem. Eventually, when I sent her to full-day childcare when she turned 4, the transition was smooth.

Good luck! :)

schellen
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Postby mummy of 2 » Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:11 am

Generally we do not force her to speak to her strangers, only say "hello" and "bye bye". My elder son is the complete opposite. He can start a conversation with anyone. And i really mean anyone, even the worker who is doing repainting at the lift lobby :lol:

You are right in that character makes a big difference. We are trying to expose her gradually to social situations in a non-threatening way. For school, maybe just have to let go and let her cry it out, like what some of you suggested.

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