Timid toddlers might struggle to interact with other children, but all they need is a little extra encouragement to unleash their confidence
If you’ve got a shy toddler, she can probably be found hiding behind your legs instead of joining in with the fun at kids’ parties. There’s nothing wrong with being shy, but there’s still plenty you can do to bring out her confidence a little more and make her feel more comfortable in social situations.
Organise play dates at home
If your little one struggles to interact with other children or is intimated by loud games, like playing tag or musical chairs, try involving her in quieter activities. Painting, yoga and swimming are all fun things to try that will still have lots of interaction with other children.
Also bring the hosting to you where she feels more relaxed. Organising play dates at home can help build your toddler’s confidence and encourage her to interact with other children. She’ll soon be ready to go to their house for playtime.
Organising play dates at home can help build your toddler’s confidence and encourage her to interact with other children
Lead by example
Shy children can often feel intimated when surrounded by large groups of people – especially if she doesn’t know them very well. This can make your toddler feel anxious and reluctant to join in.
‘Your child will look to you to guide their behaviour and feelings,’ says Dr Rebecca Chicot, co-creator of the Essential Baby Care Guides on DVD and App from The Essential Parent Company. ‘If you smile and are calm and warm in social situations, it will reassure her that there’s nothing to be afraid of.’
Prepare her for nursery
If your toddler’s nervous around new people or struggles to adapt to new situations, you may worry about her starting nursery. ‘It may help to take along her favourite teddy bear to stay with her in the early days,’ says Rebecca.
Stay with her for short periods of time during her first day. Then spend less and less time each day until you don’t need to stay with her at all. She will soon begin to adapt to her new environment, and feel safe without you there.
Praise her brave behaviour
When your toddler joins in with an activity or does something she normally shies away from it’s important to praise her for being brave. Not only will this help boost her confidence, but it’ll make her feel happy, too.