5 Tips to Support and Encourage your Shy Child

Want to know just how to encourage your shy child?

Often, we focus on the in the moment strategy to get them to try to take action with something they feel shy about. While we do need to do this, having lots of small conversations developing their perspective and opinions outside of these moments forms a foundation which gives them the confidence to try.

Here are 5 tips to help support your shy child

  1. Develop their awareness of what situations mean to them

Continually have small conversations with them about their expectations and perceptions about situations. Ask the questions, encourage them to observe situations and what happens. This can be what is happening with other people or with themselves

Questions to ask:

What happened?

What do you think about that?

How did you feel?

How did they feel?

What did you want?

What did they want?

What worked?

When we have these conversations, it builds their perspective and their awareness of what is actually going on around them rather than them only having the small story they have in their head. It is important to have these conversations with curiosity and no expectations for a change in their perspective. Giving the space without pressure opens possibilities in their minds. The moment we are trying to influence the opportunity disappears.

  1. Let them become aware of confident people and their strategies

Ask them questions about confident people they know

What do they do?

How do they do it?

What do they say?

What works?

Teach them that in the beginning it is always a bit scary, even for those confident ones. All it takes is practice. They are just more confident because they have done it more often. What could they try? If it works for others, what will stop it working for them? Remember to have these conversations without expectation of them taking action. We are just building perspective.

  1. Encourage them to develop a perspective of what they want and why they want it

The best motivator is an internal one (from within them). Have conversations about what they want. Especially around what they are shy about. Ask them questions.

What would it feel like if they had that?

How do they think they could get it?

What would it feel like if they never tried and didn’t get what they want?

What do they want really?

How much do you really want that?

What would it take to get it?

Find opportunities when they are feeling a bit of pain (not when they are in a very emotional space) around not having what they want and ask them – what can you do to get it?

Find opportunities when they are naturally talking about what they like and feeling good and validate it – Yes you can….

  1. Build their belief about themselves 

The way to build their belief about themselves is to balance validating them and developing their self-validation


  • In various situations where they feel good, ask them what they think about themselves.  Ask them how they feel and acknowledge. Yes, I can see how that must feel good (leave yourself out of the acknowledgement)
  • When they are seeking our or other’s approval, ask them what THEY think about themself. When they seek it from others, ask them what they need from the other person’s perspective. What do they think about that person’s perspective?
  •  In other words, you find as many opportunities as possible for them to develop THEIR opinion about themselves and what they do

Our Validation

We know that we love them unconditionally, the question is do they feel it? What percentage of your time with them is spent to get things done?  Like getting dressed or going to school or bathing or eating. Family life schedules are usually very busy and predominantly focused on getting things done. Being intentional that we find opportunities to validate our children is essential

Consciously find opportunities to validate them for effort, initiative and achievement (sometimes when they aren’t confident, we find it hard to see what they actually doing well in. Those moments are there)


  1. Your Approach

Our approach and timing is everything! We need to get clear on what is our responsibility and what is theirs. Our responsibility is to have lots of conversations with them without expectation. It is to give them a safe space to talk about it without feeling under pressure for a result. A space for THEM to come up with an idea to try. They need us to believe in them more than they need a solution. When we believe in them, they will start to believe in themselves and have the courage to try something. This can be tough because we want results so that we get them out of the pain, but presence during the learning will support them way more. The timing of our conversations is also important. The rule is, never go into these conversations when they or you, are upset. They need to be in a resourceful state to think about options to try. In the moment of upset, our role is to be there for them acknowledge them. I can see you are upset, and we are going to find a way! They don’t need a solution in that moment, they need reassurance. The questions and conversations come later.

Implementing these foundation conversations each day gently builds them up which will then result in them taking those action steps we want them to.

In closing

Use these tips and others I provide in my blogs.  I am here to support you through your entire parent journey

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About the Author

Gail is a Family Relationship Coach specialising in Parent-Child Relationships. She is passionate about empowering and inspiring parents to develop children’s self-awareness. She believes that this can be achieved by balancing parent’s needs with children’s development and happiness. Understanding how to synchronise our thoughts and emotions and what drives them ensures our happiness, and our children reaching their full potential. Gail is a Qualified NLP Practitioner, NLP Life Coach and Emotional Freedom Techniques Practitioner with over 10 years’ experience and success at applying these techniques to children’s learning and behaviour. Her success with her own son is proof of the possibility of true potential

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