My child and I are naturally outgoing and very welcoming people. We do have our phases here and there. And we have had our “phase”. There was once a time that my child was labeled shy by one of the first teachers in our first pre-school. I told the teacher that this could be because this is a new experience (first time to be in daycare) and it’s a new environment because when we are out and about, be it be at the park, the grocery store or the mall, my child is very friendly. So I am not so worried about our short “a little clingy” moments every morning. A few weeks have passed, and slowly but steadily, my child started making friends and liking going to pre-school. The teacher continually insisted that my child was timid and only spoke to a couple of children in the class. The size of the class in no more than 10 per room. I immediately took my child out of that facility and took my child to a more encouraging school.
I did this because I know that no one should label the child a certain name and speak of these issues in front of the child. Much more, make the child self-conscious while in the playground. More importantly, I feel that the shyness of the child should not be the main concern as this may be the child’s personality. This is not the child’s fault nor anyone for that matter. And generally speaking, some children are just plain timid and function better in smaller groups. I believe that the concern should be if the child is capable of making friends and maintaining that relationship. .
Most toddlers are shy. Plus having some major life changing events can also trigger this behavior. I knew that my child was making friends. So it was not a great concern for me. As soon as I transferred my child to a different school, where teachers are more encouraging, understanding and empathetic towards the children, my child started to blossom again into the very sociable person my child once was only even better.
My first advice regarding this matter is that you should not allow your child to be labeled. There is nothing wrong with being introverted. You may want your child to be the center of attention but your child may not. Children who seem to not make any friends due to being too shy are the ones that need parental help.
To help a child not be shy is to help the child build self confidence. Encourage and praise the efforts the child is doing. I understand that children do have phases. If your child is in kindergarten already and still has not formed meaningful friendships, you may want to have play dates and introduce a new child into the activity. Two or three is good.
School age kids tend to have already built relationships. If this issue still concerns you, don’t be shy to ask the other adults who interact with your child. Ask questions such as “Do you think my child is shy?”, “Does my child avoid eye contact?” and “How does my child respond to other kids and adults? Does my child initiate conversations?” This should give you clues in better understanding your child’s behavior and personality.
Honestly, not unless your child can’t seem to make any friends, you might realize that this shyness matter shouldn’t be of great concern.