There are some problems that feel easy to solve when you’re a parent. There are some questions that your kid has that have easy answers. How are we going to get that toy out of the tree? Why does the sunrise in one place and set in another? Why is it so important to drink water? But there are some problems that we find a little harder to solve, and some situations that require a little more time and patience.
A lot of highly intelligent children really struggle with shyness. They find it hard to express what they need or want and to assert themselves in situations. In some cases, this leads to their grades suffering as they don’t feel like they have the confidence to put their hand up and ask for help. It’s frustrating to be told by a teacher that your child needs to start asking questions when you know that what your child really needs is extra help from them. It can also be nerve-wracking when they have important exams coming up that you know they would ace if they just believed in themselves a little more. It’s a problem that a lot of children will struggle with in the months to come after so much uncertainty during the pandemic.
But there are plenty of things that you can do yourself to give your kid a little extra boost to feel more confident with their studies. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.
Don’t Frame It As A Big Problem That They Need To Fix
Anyone who was a shy kid will tell you that the absolute worst way to approach this situation is by barrelling in and telling your child that they have a problem that needs to be fixed. Addressing a lack of confidence by giving them more cause to doubt themselves is not the way to go.
Tread lightly and start by asking them how they are doing. Is there something in the classroom that is making them feel like they can’t contribute or ask a question? Are there any distracting factors, or teachers that they don’t feel like they can talk to? If you can identify any specific issues that they are struggling with, you can start working on them.
Think About How You Can Make Learning More Personalised
Shy children may struggle in a classroom because they worry about focus being placed on them if they ask a question. If they put up their hand, they may see themselves as creating a problem. If this is the case for your child, it may well be worth thinking about a tutor.
With a tutor, all the other noise is cut out and they have a clear, direct connection to their teacher. There will be none of the fear of slowing a class down or causing an interruption because the tutorial will be going at their own pace, and it won’t move on until they are ready. 11+ tutoring may be a good option to help get your child ready for such an important exam that could get them into your area’s best schools. Test Teach offers in-person 11+ tuition for children in Year 4 and Year 5, and their excellent tutors have experience and a passion for teaching.
Identify Areas Of Interest
One of the reasons why a child might struggle to feel confident with a certain subject is because they struggle to connect with it. They might understand it well enough, but if they don’t find it engaging, then they may not see a way to engage. If you have noticed that your child is particularly shy when it comes to science, for example, think about how the subject could be presented in a way that appeals to their interests. Creating home experiments is a great example of demonstrating the practical importance and the sheer joy of it.
It is also worth noting that shyness in the classroom may not necessarily be a result of the child not understanding the subject. It could be that they have a perfectly good grasp of it and don’t want to speak up because they would rather not draw attention to themselves. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your child’s teacher to find out how they’re doing, and to talk about what could be done to make sure that they feel more confident and engaged.
Practice With Them
One of the best ways that you can help your child to lose the fear of situations that make them feel shy or nervous is to show them that there is nothing to be scared of. Now, of course, you can’t recreate a classroom exactly, but what you could do is run through scenarios that are similar. Ask them what they think would happen if they raised their hand in class and asked their teacher to explain what they had just said once more. What is the worst that could happen? Try to enact the situation with the child playing the teacher and ask them how they would feel if one of their pupils was having a hard time following. You may not be able to completely get rid of their nerves, but you can show the situation from a different angle that shows that it is not as risky as it feels.
It could also help to talk to your child about situations where you have felt shy and worried about speaking up. You could explain that a lot of adults are feeling nervous about interacting with other people right now. Normalising shyness as something that adults deal with as well will help to dispel the idea that this is something that they need to be worried about. Remind them that shyness is not something that they need to feel bad about, but that good things will happen when they believe in themselves and speak up.
Don’t Forget To Reward The Big Wins
Overcoming shyness is not something that you are going to solve overnight. This is going to be a long process that may be a struggle at times, which is why it is so important that the achievements are recognised. Think about how you can reward your child for the steps forward that they take.