How can school help a shy child? 25 Jul 2022 Jayshree Guha Thakurta, Vice-principal of Vega Schools
All of us parents do our best to raise our child. We do everything possible to impart life skills to our children. But what if your little one is shy or gets exhausted socialising or needs more alone time than others? Is the child self conscious? Does she need more down time to recharge her energy? Such children are called introverts. There is nothing wrong being an introvert. It is neither a disorder nor a weakness.
Being introverted is completely natural and normal, and shyness can be overcome with time.
Studies have shown there are around 50% people in any population who are intrinsically introverts. It is something humans are born with and is determined largely by our genes. Dr Marti Olsen Laney says in the book ‘The hidden gifts of the introverted child’ that kids may sometimes show these signs of introversion or extroversion as early as four months of age.
Here are some ways in which a school can help
Embrace their uniqueness. The best thing you can do is honour their temperament. Shyness and introversion can lead to various strengths, some of them being the ability to think deeply and to form deep bonds with others.
Understand why an introverted feels tired and cranky after socialising. Teach them there is nothing wrong with needing to spend time alone. A lot of this will naturally change when a child starts going to school
New people and situations
This will happen as a part of their normal school routine. Some of the best schools in Gurgaon teach children in smaller groups and give them the opportunity to have fewer people to avoid an overwhelming experience. This also creates a platform for children to build strong, meaningful and lasting relationships.
Trained teachers who can understand children
Outstanding teachers who are trained well will spend a lot of time building a relationship with a shy or introverted child. They are trained to identify quiet stars and help them become more confident. Top Gurgaon schools train teachers to help shy learners build bonds with other learners. Shy children are helped by slowly taking them out of their comfort zone. When children do projects they automatically break free from their shell and become more confident.
School is another social space after home
Parents should also prepare their children that school is a great social place to make friends for life. Schools in Gurgaon, with well trained teachers should outlife the routine of the day which helps a child become less inhibited and know what is expected of her.
Choose where to sit
Top Gurgaon schools usually believe in giving each child her space. They allow the children to choose where to sit and also create quiet corners for them where they can decompress and get energised. Remember, introverted children (and adults) need a quiet place to get energised.
Encourage them to make friends
Research says that children perform their best in school when they have a good friend. Even one or two friends who share the same interest or stay in the same area or travel by school bus can be the first platform to create bonds. This will greatly help a shy or an introverted child adjust in her social space.
Talk to your child about the time they enjoyed being with friends
Positive reinforcement can go a long way. It is a time tested strategy for social and emotional development. Teachers in top Gurgaon schools encourage and appreciate the children when they have enjoyed a specific team game. This is one sure way of regulating emotions and dealing with fear for large gatherings.
Role plays in choice time or free play
Schools in Gurgaon give lots of importance to free play and imaginative play. It is a technique of strengthening social skills learnt at school. Kids often use soft toys to role play conversations with playmates. Schools that focus on learning by doing create a lot more opportunities for children to overcome shyness.
A well trained teacher will create opportunities for children sharing and listening to each other. For example circle time becomes a great space to encourage and to compliment a child on her or his social development milestones.
Always remember being an introvert does not mean a child is not happy in his or her space. It is just that the child may need adequate time to be on their own. Shyness is different and is overcome when the teacher is empathetic and slowly helps the child overcome shyness and become more confident.
Schools that focus on project based learning, experiential learning and other progressive teaching methods will find it easier to draw out shy children and to make them more confident. They will give a child the skills to navigate their school life and their school life will also give them skills to be comfortable in large social spaces in future.
When we embrace introverted children for what they are, we give them the confidence to fully blossom in the real world.
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