This is a guest post as a part of a book tour for Raising The Shy Child
5 Tips for Building Confidence in Shy and Anxious Children
Shy and anxious children can be triggered by a large range of things—school performance, play dates, even going to an unfamiliar environment can trigger an anxiety. Building confidence in your child is one of the best ways to mitigate anxiety in the anxious and shy child. The tips below can help you set your child up for success in the world, and build his or her confidence as:
1. Give the child a job. Few things build confidence more than being given responsibility and executing them successfully. Set your child up for success by clearly explaining both what the job entails and what your expectations are for completion. Doing this will provide your child with opportunities for success, a chance to connect to the home environment in a meaningful way and even provide for light social interactions.
2. Make sure your praise is performance-based and specific. Researchers have long known that the best praise for a child is specific and related to performance. This type of praise reinforces specific behavior, gives meaning and validity to the specific praise and builds confidence.
3. Teach missing social skills and social competencies. One of the major reasons children with anxiety issues often experience a lack of confidence relates to deficits in their social integration skills. The source of these deficits often involves a lack of social skill development. Directly teaching basic social skills to your children can increase their social confidence and self-efficacy, resulting in improved overall confidence.
4. Create a culture of caring. Shy and anxious children need environments that are calm, communicate safety, and generally positive. Focusing on these attributes will provide your children with the foundation needed to build on successes and develop confidence in all aspects of their lives.
5. Teach problem solving skills. Nothing can erode confidence faster than conflict. Shy and anxious children often struggle with regards to problem solving and conflict resolution skills, resulting in continued erosion of confidence during periods of poor peer interactions. Directly teaching these skills with a focus on creative problem solving can boost your children’s self-esteem and resiliency, while also teaching flexible thinking.
Building confidence in your children is a daily practice. Utilize all of the precious teachable moments in a day and cultivate the habit of looking for ways to instill confidence. This doesn’t mean protect your children against all possible anxiety triggers. To the contrary, it means arming them with the skills necessary to move through the difficult parts of the day successfully.