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How do I help my 4-year-old overcome shyness?
A lot of maturing can occur between now and the time she would start kindergarten in the fall, but you are wise to be thinking about this now. A good beginning would be to enroll her in a play group once or twice a week for just a few hours at a time. This will allow her to “learn the ropes” of being in a group. She can play by herself, or possibly near other children at first, until she feels comfortable enough to join in. Be sure to stay with her the first few times. Many churches and YWCA’s offer informal groups under such titles as “Mothers’ Day Out.” If this is not possible, try to arrange small party-like sessions for two or three friends from time to time in your home and let her gain confidence in playing with others. And, once she begins kindergarten, if she seems unduly shy or anxious, be sure and talk to her teacher about it. A sensitive teacher will not try to rush her into group activities until she appears ready.
Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education