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Describe how you would treat and manage shyness in young children

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Describe how you would treat and manage shyness in young children. Research and studies have found that shyness in children could be due to genetic, temperamental, and environmental influences (Jaffe, 1991, p. 270, & Zimbardo 1995, p. 56). This paper aims to discuss the types of shyness, the influences on shyness, the difference between normal and problematic shyness. Lastly, strategies will be presented to help the shy child. The basic feeling of shyness is a common problem not only among children but also among adults. According to Zimbardo (1995, p.56-57) and Jaffe (1995, p. 270), shyness is a mix of emotions, including fear and interest, tension and pleasantness. A shy child may display in his/her behaviour a downward gaze, physical, and verbal reticence. That is he/she will try to avoid eye contact or withdraw slightly or totally when being touched or talked to. The speech is often soft, almost inaudible, and at times, very hesitant. Shyness is very often a mistaken and misunderstood emotion. It ought to be distinguished from two related behaviour patterns: wariness and social disengagement. It is very normal that young infants are very wary of strangers as it is a time that attachment to familiar faces of ...read more.


There are many strategies for helping a shy child, but one very important aspect to carrying out these strategies is to avoid calling attention to what others think of the child. Adults who make negative remarks about the child, or who allow the child little autonomy, may encourage feelings of shyness, and aggravate the self-conscious feeling that the young child is developing (Bachler, 2002). Firstly, parents and other significant adults need to know, love, and accept the whole child for what he/she is (Goff, 2001). Being sensitive to the child's interests, feelings, and needs will allow parents and teachers to build a relationship with the child and show that you respect the child. This can make the child more confident and less inhibited. It is important not to reinforce the child's shyness by labelling the child and trying to change him/her, but rather change the way the child could respond to a situation. For example, a child who is temperamentally shy needs time to warm-up and feel comfortable in many situations like new school, new environment, and parties Some shy children are deep-thinking and cautious. ...read more.


Shy children need to be taught assertiveness and positive self-talk so that they learn to ward off aggressive children and not be bullied by them (Evertson, 2003, p. 73). At times, shy children may attempt in joined activities but misinterpret nonverbal signals of others - they may misunderstand facial expressions or body language. As a result, they may be teased for their strange behaviour or lack of social skills, withdraw totally and become more inhibited. The adult's role would be to teach the child to keep the appropriate physical distance from others, the meaning of facial expression such as anger and hurt. Finally, parents and teachers could really work closely together to help children to overcome their shyness. Teachers do play a very important role in identifying the strengths, interests, and needs of the child to develop an individual plan to ease shyness in children: to build self-confidence, and to become autonomous. Effective teachers and significant adults help the shy child by promoting a friendly, caring environment. They do not threaten, label, or punish them for being shy or misbehaving. Most important of all the strategies informed above, the child must be taught that shyness is not a problem or something to be ashamed of. ...read more.

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