Sunday, December 4, 2011

How to Adjust a Shy Child for Preschool

If you're worried that your shy child might have a difficult time adjusting to preschool, you are not alone. Parents worry about the ability of a shy child to cope with school, especially with preschool, but being proactive in the summer helps set your child on her way to social success. Remember to see your child as the happy person she is. Shyness has been unfairly characterized, according to a posting -- "8 Ways To Help the Shy Child". “Shyness is a personality trait. It is not a fault. There is nothing wrong with being shy," the author writes.

Plan a Visit
Your son is more at home in environments where he has already made friends, so help him get excited about preschool before it starts. Drive by the school so he can see children playing outside. Let him get acquainted with the neighborhood. Ask if he would like to visit the school. If he answers, "I don't know,” give him time. When you do visit the preschool, stay with him during the visit. Visit a second time a few weeks later, but leave him "alone for an hour while you leave the room," says teacher Lisa DelGloria, in SI Parent, an online magazine for Staten Island parents of preschoolers. Leaving your child alone will give him confidence that he can handle the situation on his own.

Create Your Own Preschool Routine
Before your child starts preschool, create your own circle time at home. Sing a welcome song. With a blank poster board and some markers, create a weather board. You can make sun and cloud and raindrop shapes for her to put on the weather board. Let her tell you her morning news. Bring a sack lunch and take a blanket outside for lunch on the grass. After lunch, ask her to lie down for a nap. After nap time, read aloud to her in the afternoon during snack time. Practice this two or three times a week before the end of summer.

Meet the Teachers
Arrange for a private meeting in the summer with the teacher and assistants. Inform the teachers that your child is shy, but that you believe he will warm up to preschool after a few months. Let the teachers know which activities your son prefers and which activities he might shy away from. Parents not to make the child feel as if being shy is wrong. Some parents worry that their child will not warm up to strangers, but the Ask Dr. Sears website states that parents should stay calm. Shy children often like to make sure that warming up to someone is worth the effort.
Model Outgoing Social Behavior
Be the first to introduce yourself when you enter a room. Show your child that it is easy to start speaking with others. Don't expect her to start introducing herself right away, but when she sees that you are comfortable walking into a room and talking to others, in time, she will also feel comfortable doing this. Smile and be friendly as you go about your day and compliment others frequently, recommends Rene Gilbert, Ph.D., in an Internet site, Parenting the Shy Child.

When Shyness Becomes a Social Handicap
Despite a parent's best efforts, there are times when a child's shyness can become a social handicap. In these instances, what others see as shyness may be an indication that a child is withdrawing because of deeper problems he is experiencing. A child who is withdrawing will usually avoid eye contact and he may exhibit behavioral problems. "When you delve into this little person, you discover he operates from anger and fear instead of peace and trust. When you delve deeper, you often find he has a lot to be angry about," according to the Ask Dr. Sears website. Helping the preschooler with the issues he is angry about becomes more important than the shyness.

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