Why doesn’t your shy kid want to go to camp?
If you have a shy child who avoids socializing, it can be a big challenge to get them out of the house. How do you convince your timid child to give winter or spring camp a chance?
Shyness is not the same as being introverted. Most shy children feel nervous around others and they have a certain level of social anxiety that prevents them from socializing freely.
While shyness is not a synonym for social anxiety, there is an overlap of symptoms, and shyness can develop into social anxiety if fear overtakes a child.
According to a recent study, about 9 percent of children in the US suffer from anxiety and depression, and the number is rising. All the more reason to support your shy child and help them overcome the shyness that can trigger anxiety.
If you’ve set a goal to encourage your child to give camp a try this spring break to get them to venture outside of their comfort zone, it is a good idea to teach them how to stand up for themselves when faced with aggression from other kids. To shy kids, unexpected attacks from other children can trigger their anxiety and make them retreat into themselves.
How to prepare shy kids to deal with aggression from other kids
1. Role Play
Demonstrating what types of aggression can come their way can prepare your child by letting them know what to expect, so they are less likely to freeze on the spot.
Act out a situation where some other kids verbally or physically attack, and talk through what your shy child can do in that situation.
Role play is the easiest way for your child to passively experience the situation in a clear-headed way.
2. Prepare the reaction
Brainstorm with your child about the best reaction to a kid who shows aggression. Help your child brainstorm a comfortable way to express his or her feelings to the attacker, and possible alternatives in case that doesn’t work.
3. Teach how to get help
Your child never should feel embarrassed about seeking help for dealing with a bully. Someone behaving in unacceptable ways should never be allowed to feel welcome anywhere they go. So, teach your child that it is OK to seek help without feeling bad for someone who is attacking others.
Shyness can be seen as an aspect of your child’s nature, as long as it doesn’t prevent him or her from exploring new things and meeting new people outside of familiar settings. But if your child habitually shows fear and discomfort of trying new things, he or she might need some support to overcome their anxiety.
Your child may overcome her or his shyness on their own as they age and accumulate more experiences and develop coping mechanisms, but if they can actively build tools from an early age, overcoming shyness can be more proactive.
The important thing is to let your child overcome their shyness without feeling pressured, by helping them see the benefits and the joy of the new experiences, once they overcome their own fears.
A shy child needs gradual but consistent exposure to the environments that make them feel nervous. But to do that, they shouldn’t feel forced to do things they have zero interest in, since the interest is a necessary component of the sense of reward they will have from joining in a new activity.
If the idea of camp is just too much, here are some alternative ideas to ease your shy kid out of their comfort zone.
Activities to Overcome Shyness During Winter and Spring Break
1. Foreign language learning
Learning a new language can benefit your child in so many ways, but the most important merit is that it challenges your child’s comfort zone. To learn a new language, your child has to make mistakes and undergo trial and error until they get better at it.
One interesting side benefit of acquiring a new language is that your child can adopt a new persona, which will enable them to express themselves more freely without feeling silly.
Language learning can be done with a tutor, whether one-on-one or in a small group setting, online or offline. It is a flexible way for your child to learn something new and join a new group.
2. Instrument learning
Instrument learning can be a benefit for your shy child, because it can be a great hobby and a talent to show off, even later on in life. By mastering an instrument, your shy child can develop confidence as well as a skill that distinguishes them from others, which can boost their confidence.
Raising confidence is one of the best ways to overcome shyness among children.
3. Join a game tournament
If your shy child enjoys creative online games such as Minecraft, joining a tournament could be a fun activity. Building a world with your child’s skill set while working in cooperation with a team can be a fun experiment for your child to experience group play and meet like-minded people.
4. Customized Camp
If your shy child struggles with the idea of going away to a big camp, try organizing a small camp for them with some of their like-minded friends. It can be centered around anything from art to comic books to chess; a place where your child and his or her friends can share their interests in a smaller group without feeling too much pressure.
5. Sharing their skills
Teaching others about their skills can strengthen your child’s confidence as well as reduce anxiety about performance.
One easy way for a shy child to share their skill is by creating videos to demonstrate skills such as drawing comics, cooking, or dancing.
The best way to help your child overcome shyness and get more active during school breaks is by giving them more tools. Rather than pushing your shy child to join a camp that absolutely terrifies them, find some activities based on your child’s interests and provide a safe place for your child to overcome their anxieties through positive experiences. Those fun, happy memories they build while gradually venturing outside their comfort zone will help your shy child begin to conquer their fears and anxieties.