All toddler’s go through a shy period, but for some it’s more than just a phase. Children each have their own little personalities, and some are naturally shyer than others. So, if your little one is naturally shy, you may be wondering how to boost their confidence.
The good news is, confidence is something you can nurture in young children. So, to help, below you’ll discover some of the best ways to boost your toddler’s confidence.
Don’t Label Your Child
According to experts, it’s important not to label your toddler as “nervous” or “shy” in front of them. For example, when meeting a friend if your toddler cowers behind you, it’s common to say something like “Oh, they’re just a little shy at the moment”. While it’s certainly true, the trouble is, if your toddler hears you telling other people they are shy, it could actually make the problem worse.
Experts believe giving kids labels can stick with them throughout their childhood. If they hear it often enough, they’ll believe it’s just a part of who they are and will act accordingly. Instead, try to approach it in a different way. Saying, your toddler feels shy, rather than is shy, is considered a healthier way to approach it. This is because “feels” is temporary, and everyone can feel shy sometimes.
Don’t Compare Your Children
Another no-no according to experts, is comparing your children in front of them. For example, your toddler’s older sibling may be a lot more confident. So, you may be tempted to say something such as “your brother wasn’t as shy as you when they were little”, or “look at how confident your brother is”. While you may be trying to help your toddler, instead this can have a negative impact on how they see themselves.
Any comparisons can be seen as you favoring one child over the other. This could potentially make your toddler more nervous around people. Instead, focus on your toddler’s differences in a positive way. Let them know why their differences are a good thing. Helping them to feel good about the different parts of their personality is going to really help boost their confidence.
Stick To A Routine
Toddler’s are happiest when they have a set routine in place (even if it doesn’t always appear that way come bedtime!). Without a routine, they can become anxious and they could also start to act out more. So, sticking closely to a daily routine will really help them to feel more confident in the stability.
If there is going to be a change in their routine, it’s important to let them know in advance. So, if grandma is going to collect them one afternoon, start talking about the change in their routine a couple of days before. That way, they’ll know the change is coming, as well as what to expect.
Introduce Them To New Environments Gradually
When it comes to introducing your toddler to new environments, it’s a good idea to do it gradually. This means, rather than starting to take your toddler to a large baby and toddler group for example, begin by taking them past the building and talking about the class you’ll both be attending. You could then venture inside, letting your toddler get a peek of what’s going on in the class.
Letting them watch scenarios before they are forced to join in can really help to build up their confidence. Just throwing them into a large group environment on the other hand, could see them shying away and becoming overwhelmed.
Lead By Example
It’s going to be tough to encourage your toddler to be more confident if you aren’t overly confident yourself. If they watch you getting nervous around other people, or not being the first one to say hello, it’s likely they’ll act the same way. So, if you want to boost their confidence, you’re going to have to lead by example.
Let them see you say hello to people, especially other toddlers. If they have play dates, talk to the other toddler’s, asking them about their toys for example. Your toddler will watch you do this and be more likely to feel at ease interacting with the other children. They love to mimic behavior that they see so leading by example is one of the bets tips you can follow to boost their confidence.
Give them Little Responsibilities
Did you know that giving your toddler a little responsibility can do wonders for their self-confidence? It makes them feel important to have their own little tasks to complete.
Obviously, they aren’t going to be able to carry out huge tasks. However, simple things such as tidying up their toys, feeding pets and matching up socks from the laundry basket, are easy enough for them to manage.
Try Not To Overprotect Them
It’s common to want to protect your toddler but overprotecting them is only going to lead to confidence issues. If you’re always doing things for your toddler and not letting them experience new things by themselves, it’s going to make them overly dependent upon you.
It’s important to find the right balance between protecting them and giving them enough independence to work things out for themselves.
Encourage Independent Play
If your toddler is a little clingy, helping them to play more independently is a sure-fire way to boost their confidence. You can start by encouraging them to play by themselves for 10-15 minutes. Remember, toddler’s have quite short attention spans, so you’ll need to provide a range of entertainment to keep them occupied.
The more they play alone, the less they will rely upon you. Independent play really helps to build confidence and show them they don’t need to rely upon you to feel safe.
Let Them Make Their Own Decisions
Occasionally, it’s a good idea to let your toddler make their own decisions. Giving them options makes them feel more in control. For example, give them options as to what they want to wear for the day, or what book they’d like you to read before bed. These small decisions do wonders for their confidence.
Overall, all toddlers will go through a shy phase several times throughout their development. However, if your little one is naturally shy, the above tips can really help you to build up their confidence. Remember, the key is to remain patient. Your toddler’s confidence isn’t going to be boosted overnight, but if you follow the tips above you’ll soon start to see the difference in their behavior.