Very shy five year old

February 12th, 2013 posted by Family Corner Staff

Photo Copyright Amanda Formaro/The Family 1998, 1999, 2000


“My five year old is extremely shy and will not talk when around other people. She doesn’t talk at church, school or with her school friends. A couple of weeks ago we had a family birthday party for our two year old and the five year old didn’t say anything all evening. The people that were here were all family not strangers. What can we do? Is this something that she will outgrow or should we be trying to do something about it?”

~ Teresa

Answers from our members:

Dawn Bittle wrote:

Many children and adults are very shy. It is just part of who they are. I really don’t think the behavior you have described is much to worry about. The best advice I can give is to make sure to not label the child in any way. If you say she is shy ~ she will be shy. If you say she won’t talk around people outside of the family ~ she won’t talk around people outside of the family. Just don’t make a big deal of it. It may also be a good idea to really recognize her when she does speak up. Make it something special without going overboard. Privately, let her know that she should be very proud of herself and what an accomplishment it was for her to join in conversation with others. Good luck and don’t worry too much 🙂 Dawn Bittle, Energy Diet

Carol wrote:

Our granddaughter who is now 7 1/2 was just like your little one. It was amazing how this child who talked at home, to her grandparents and to her baby-sitter could go for hours at a family gathering without saying a word. We were worried about her ability to succeed in school. I think the first step was to just act as if this were a normal occurrence. When she was in a short term preschool setting she was asked questions that she could answer by nodding or shaking her head. She was reminded at home that she would eventually have to speak in school and began talking to others in kindergarten. The teacher was aware of the problem, but I don’t believe she stressed it at all. She is now in second grade, is outgoing with those she knows, makes new friends quietly and is very successful in school. I hope time and patience will work for you. I think I’ll ask my daughter just what she thinks helped her little “nontalker” become the star she is now.

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