Shyness is a challenge for many young children, luckily it tends to get better with age, however here are a few ideas as to how you can start to improve your child’s confidence now. At NLP4Kids we frequently work with children experiencing confidence issues to reduce the negative impact of shyness and anxiety in children when meeting new people.
Labeling your child as “shy” could be giving them a title to live up to. If you give your child a different label such as “confident” they may feel that they can’t act “shy” anymore as it’s not who they are. Also by re-labeling your child in a more positive light may help you start to notice them being confident more often as that’s what you are looking for.
If your child is uncomfortable going up to new children and introducing themselves, encourage them to play along side other children instead. More often than not, children will automatically start to play with each other if they are near each other. This will make your child feel more at ease with new children as they don’t have to strike up a conversation, it develops naturally. This can work for older children too. If they are afraid to make conversation with new people, a great way to integrate themselves is to be near the new person, mirroring their actions and behaviour. Sometimes you may feel it is difficult to encourage your child to get out of their comfort zone. This could be down to a simple case of mismatching in either physiology, tone of voice or the type of language you are using.
When speaking with your child, be at the same height as them, this is a lot less intimidating and they will feel more comfortable speaking with you if they feel you are on the same level. By matching or mirroring your child’s physiology, you can take them from an unhappy state to a happy state very quickly. It won’t work if they are in a state of hiding and you try to help them overcome that by being outgoing. The two states are too far apart. Try to match your child on 3 things and then lead them into a more positive state by changing your physiology for example if your child is sitting in a slouched position and is speaking in a quiet, low pitched voice and is using very visual language such as “I see,” match them by sitting in the same way, speaking like they are as well as using the same language.
Once you feel or notice that you have rapport sit in a more upright position, if your child matches you, speak in a more happy and upbeat tone. By doing this you will feel connected with your child and will be able to take them from a reserved state to a more outgoing one quickly and easily.
By Gemma Bailey
Gemma Bailey is the director of NLP4Kids, a children’s therapy service that provides teen therapy and child counselling using NLP, a proactive alternative to conventional child psychology. If you are looking for a child counsellor to help your child overcome stress, depression or anxiety related problems or if you wish to book a workshop to help your child improve their mental health call 0203 6677294 or emailGemma@NLP4Kids.org Gemma is based in Hertfordshire and works with clients in and around Hemel Hempstead, St Albans, Watford, Potters Bar, Berkhamsted, North London and Hertfordshire.