Shyness is a normal response seen in infants to an overwhelming social experience. Such children may or may not retain this behavior for life. Remember that shyness is not abnormal and is a phase of the development process. Ensure that your baby is not experiencing severe discomfort or fear in new situations.
While there is no known cause for shyness in babies, several possible explanations exist that include:
- Some researchers believe shyness may be an inherited behavior. However, at the same time, children are likely to adopt behaviors seen in their parents, biological or not.
- The temporary withdrawal seen in children is a defense mechanism that helps them to gain a sense of control over their surroundings, especially in new situations such as a party with bright lights and many people talking loudly at the same time.
- Nature provides babies with a natural wariness of strangers. Babies start recognizing faces early in life, and feel comfortable with the familiar faces of their parents.
- Some children are naturally shy, and do not enjoy being the center of attention.
Helping the shy baby
Here are some ways to help your shy baby ‘come out’:
- Children learn by example. Appear outgoing and confident when your child is watching.
- Socialize your kids with as many people as possible right from an early age in different situations.
- Use positive association methods. Do not criticize, yell, or shout if your child refuses to play with somebody. Smile when your baby agrees to be held by a trusted person you know well.
- Do not force children to do something they do not like, as it will only reinforce shy behavior.
- Make playtime fun and encourage your baby to play with other kids. Use your children’s favorite toys and objects to lure them into interacting with other people.