How to Instill Confidence in Shy Preschoolers: 4 Steps
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Make a plan for preschool dropoff to maintain consistency.

No woman wants to be the mom at preschool drop-off with a timid child hiding under her skirt. If you have a shy preschooler, you know the frustration of urging him to come out from hiding and greet the teacher. Meanwhile, watching the future student body presidents zip around the room chatting, playing and winning the favor of teachers and peers can increase your anxiety. As with other aspects of parenting, this condition calls for patience and understanding. With some support and encouragement, even the most bashful preschoolers can let their personalities shine.


  1. 1
    Observation will help you determine what truly interests your child and which activities he feels comfortable and confident about. He might look adorable in a T-ball uniform, but if he doesn't have an interest in playing, the idea of performing in front of the team and possibly letting them down might intimidate him. Maybe he enjoys building, doing science experiments, painting or learning about animals instead. Take your budding scientist to museums, set up fun experiments at home and sign him up for summer science camps. Just like adults, preschool children feel most confident when doing something they feel passionate about.
  2. 2
    Even the biggest extroverts prefer solitude occasionally. For a shy preschooler, entering a setting with peers and adults stirs up major apprehension. Springing these scenarios on your child unannounced intensifies these fears and leaves him without time to prepare. Before dropping off your child at preschool or with a babysitter, have a conversation about the plan and convey to him your expectations, such as walking into the room, storing items in the cubby and greeting the teacher independently. Will this pep talk guarantee that he won't duck for cover in between your legs the moment you hit the parking lot? No. But, it will open a discussion about his shyness and give you an opportunity to not only listen, but also share tips and even personal stories with him.
  3. 3
    The shyness of your preschool child might dredge up old memories of you stalking into class with your head down feeling terrified that someone might notice you. Shyness is a fairly common personality trait that often gets passed down by parents who experienced a lack of social confidence themselves. If you have shy tendencies, try to assert yourself in front of your child. Seeing his daddy boldly facing the world will give your child the confidence to work through shyness. Also, share your own feelings of shyness with him as an assurance that others also have trouble socializing.
  4. 4
    Preschoolers have active imaginations and enjoy dramatic play. While you might have outgrown the urge to don a tiara or cape, playing with your child can help him build confidence and overcome shyness. Use puppets, dolls or even yourselves to act out social scenarios, practicing ways to interact with peers at preschool. Empower your child by acting out the shy part yourself, allowing him to initiate interactions and take on an outgoing role. You can also encourage him to practice talking with others in the mirror before going to school, ensuring that he uses eye contact and speaks clearly.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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