In a world, such as this, that is overwhelmingly dominated by extroverts, it makes sense that the education system holds activities such as group projects and oral presentations with such high regard. However, some children find these activities to be stressful: it causes anxiety, high blood pressure, nausea, and trouble sleeping. A lot of people would associate these traits with that of an introvert, and although many shy children fall into that category, being an introvert and being shy are not entirely interchangeable. Kids of both traits, extrovert and introvert, can be shy. So, when it comes to giving oral presentations in school there are many ways that parents and teachers alike can help these children gain confidence when in front of the classroom.
Catherine Rauch, author of “How to Help a Shy Child Participate at School,” sets out a number of simple, yet overlooked tips that can aid a child in this matter. The first thing she writes is that you shouldn’t push your children. She states that parents should respect their children and this will inch them forward to being more independent and confident. Another point she makes is to always encourage your child’s interest. Allow him or her to take some things of interest to school and show it off – akin to a show and tell presentation but not nearly as formal. Rauch states that this can give them a “niche in class. Even if your child doesn’t speak up right away, just having her favorite things in class can help melt her shyness.”
All too often, parents and teachers focus on discipline as a motivator than they do positive reinforcement. Rauch stresses the fact that when guardians focus on this child’s accomplishment, especially at home, this can “ease participation fears.” When helping the child at home, one great way to help children with oral presentations is to simply do that presentation at home, be the student. Also, doing fun school role-playing games can help. Let the child be the teacher to you, your spouse, and some dolls or teddy bears. Let the child have fun, laugh, and release some scary feelings about being in front of an audience.
These tips may come off as obvious, or vaguely simple, but they work. The child will reduce their shyness and evolve into a great speaker, a trait held with high honor in an outgoing world. Introvert or extrovert, many children “suffer” with shyness, a very treatable anxiety side effect; follow these tips and your child will not only give a good presentation but have fun doing it.