Helping your Child Overcome Shyness

Many children experience some level of stage fright when called upon to give a presentation in school. Even some adults are intimidated by the thought of speaking in front of an audience. For shy children, the anxiety associated with giving a presentation is apt to be heightened and compounded.

With a few specific techniques, parents can help a shy child gain confidence, ensuring the presentation will go smoothly and perhaps sow the seeds for future success should the child again be called upon to perform in front of the class or an assembly.

Preparation

Ensure the child thoroughly prepares for the upcoming presentation. Make sure he (she) has a firm grasp on the information he wishes to impart and all the materials needed for any visual aid component designed to accompany his presentation. If the child knows his subject in depth, then a few key words on index cards will prompt his memory and he will not have to memorize a verbatim speech, which could potentially be forgotten in the throes of nervousness.

Practice

Have the child practice in front of an audience of siblings, relatives, neighbors or friends.  The more opportunities the child has to practice, the more confident he will be during the actual presentation.

Praise

Lavish praise on your child for having the courage to overcome his shyness and also praise the virtues of the finished product. Refrain from showing any evidence of lack of confidence on your own part, for the child will pick up cues from you regarding confidence. If you believe in your child, he is more apt to believe in himself.

Communicate relaxation skills

Introduce your shy child to relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and visualization. Practice these skills with your child and talk about how he can apply them on the day of the presentation.

Positive environment

Avoid being rushed or distracted on the day of the presentation. Give your child ample time to get dressed in an outfit that enhances his good feelings about himself. Make sure he has a nutritious breakfast. Arrive at school with time to spare. Refrain from wishing your child “Good luck,” for that implies he will need luck to succeed. Instead, tell him to have a happy time giving his presentation and assure him you will be eager to hear every detail of his success.

Helping a child overcome shyness in order to give a presentation in school using the above suggestions is apt to enhance his future school experiences, for class participation and speaking confidently in front of others plays a huge part in overall academic success.