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How to Help Children Overcome Shyness

March 31, 2010

FlowerWhen my children were young, they disliked talking on the telephone. They seemed particularly shy when it came to conversing with adults or people they did not know. Although, I taught my kids, as we must, not to talk to strangers, this teaching resulted in them hesitating later in life. The kids were almost afraid to approach people, and they nearly refused to engage in a conversation with strangers.

This problem occurred to me when my son turned eleven, so I set out to remedy the situation. I started by teaching him and his little sister, to ask questions. When people phoned our home, I instructed them to ask the normal stuff like, “May, I ask who’s calling?” To encourage this, I asked them to answer the phone when it rang. If the call was for me, I asked the kids, “Who is it?”

Finally, they became laid back when answering the phone and talking with the unknown callers. At this point, I started coaxing them to call and order a pizza. To place an order, they had to answer questions, provide their phone number and, their address. They learned to ask questions concerning prices and arrival times.

When they wanted to see a movie or go swimming, they phoned for show times, opening, and closing hours, etc. If I needed something like a new toaster, I would have them call and get information on pricing and store hours. This idea helped the children overcome their insecurities, although it did annoy them. When Walmart moved into our area, things got even better. The kids learned about transfers to other departments. Before long, the kids were asking for the electronic department and so forth. In addition, I helped them learn how to use the phone book and directory assistance.

I found this to be a superb way to teach my children conduct and phone skills that proved useful to them later. This method worked to help them overcome shyness and the fear that they had felt, when it came to strangers. They naturally became comfortable asking questions of the store clerks, later as well. I recently asked my seven year-old grandson to go and ask where something was, in a store. Although he hesitated, he came back and proudly guided me to the item.

Sandra Hendricks, EzineArticles.com Expert AuthorI smile when I think of my seemingly absurd method of teaching, using the telephone. However, both of our children landed, their first quality jobs, at a call center. Their communication skills as well as their phone skills assisted them in promotions and achieving higher education. I believe this idea helped my children learn to be assertive.


3 Comments to “How to Help Children Overcome Shyness”

  1. Adil Syed says:

    Very informative article, I think the basic cause of child shyness is his or her parent’s behavior. Every parent wants to protect their children, but when they over protect their children, this thing creates least interaction with the outer world (I mean the world outside the home). The result is extreme shyness in children. They avoid social gatherings, feeling uncomfortable while talking to strangers.

    • Sandra says:

      I agree with you 100%! The mistake I made was definitively over protecting. I allowed my own fears and misgivings from my childhood events, to stand in their way. Thank goodness I came to my senses and recognized what I had achieved, before my children reached their teenage years – the time when we are most vulnerable to our concerns.

  2. D. Ward says:

    I think this is a great method to empower young children; to help them grow into confident and self-assured young adults. It’s a shame, though, that the importance of exercises like this isn’t recognized by schools – not every child will be lucky enough to have such a conscientious and thoughtful parent. In my opinion, formal education really should do more to develop the skills that children really need to succeed in life.

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