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Is my 2 ½-year-old too shy?
It is not unusual for children of this age to be shy and slow to warm up to others. Here are some tips that can help:
  • Hire a teenage sitter who can come into your home and play with your child. This will allow you some free time and give your child an opportunity to become attached to someone outside the family. An added bonus is that this sitter could later watch your child, giving you a chance to go shopping, out to dinner, or meet with friends.
  • Leave your son home with his father, even if your son protests. Once you are away, your son will settle down and be with his dad. Time with dad really helps toddlers to become more courageous.
  • Take your son to lunch at one of those fast-food restaurants that have a gym and play area attached. While you are eating, your son will see other children playing. As he becomes used to this, he will begin to venture away from you to play with the other children.

I can assure you that you do not have a problem. Some children at this age just need some gentle coaxing and time to give up mommy to be with others. Good luck!
Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education