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How do I build my shy child's confidence and self-esteem?

Q: My daughter who turned five last month is very shy and reserved. Though she seems to do well academically, she is extremely hesitant to try any new activity. She refuses to talk to any of our friends and takes really long to be comfortable with friends. Once comfortable, she seems to not have any problems making conversation. Can be a chatterbox. Also, she tends to get bullied easily. She is willing to play with other children only when she can see an adult around. She still sucks her thumb and sometimes chews her nails. At school and other peoples houses she is well-behaved. I am an IT professional and have switched to being part-time since the last 2 years to be able to spend more time with her. Her other primary caregiver is her grandmother who pampers her a lot. She treats her father like a playmate. How do I build her confidence and self-esteem?

A:You have done the right thing to work part time for your career and to have more time to spend with your daughter. I think she will get over her shyness gradually and her hesitation to make friends. There are various kinds of temperaments: some children are outgoing, others slow to meet others with ease. In itself, diversity is not a problem. Your daughter seems to have three adults who care for her and play with her. Believe me, that is a luxury for any child today! Give her an opportunity to meet and play with other children in your presence at first and she will get used to playing with them even if you are not there. Let her listen to music and stories. Every activity that is appropriate for her age and interests will go towards her total development.

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