My child is shy. The Nursery staff say she hardly talks at all, although she chatters away at home

Some children can be shy and find social interaction difficult with people they don't know well. You can help by giving your child plenty of practice in talking to family members.

Use some of the following tips

  • Build self-esteem. Praise and encourage her, especially when she is trying something new, acting independently or playing sociably with a friend.
  • If she finds it difficult to manage new situations, give her plenty of preparation by reading books about children in a similar situation.
  • Don't get into the habit of speaking for your child. Encourage her to ask for things herself in shops. Act as an interpreter if she finds other people hard to understand.
  • Don't tell everyone that "she's just shy" - it reinforces the idea.
  • If your child has realised that she can have a considerable effect on others by not speaking, try not to overreact or become exasperated.