The Shy Child
Some children seem to lack get-up-and-go. Even though they have no developmental differences, challenges, or disabilities, they seem to lack initiative. They may be labeled shy, or perhaps they are looked at as withdrawn.
Let’s look at one of these children:
Dakota has always been the quietest child in the preschool she attends. She hangs out on the fringes of things and seldom talks or even smiles. When someone talks to her, she lowers her eyes and stares at her shoes. She follows the routine of the program but never really joins in with anything that is going on. She’s so quiet that sometimes she’s almost invisible.
What could be going on with Dakota? The place to start answering this question is with the family. What is their take on their daughter? Is she the same way at home as she is at school? Certainly this conversation should be held without indicating that the teachers think something is wrong with Dakota. An exchange of information is what will be helpful. In this situation what the teachers finally figured out was Dakota fit a particular pattern that they had already discovered in other children.
Here’s the pattern. Some children are born extra cautious. This trait may even be in their genes. They don’t enjoy putting themselves out in the world, taking risks, trying new things. Sometimes this trait doesn’t really hinder them, because it’s more a matter of timing than a deficiency. Some children are observers; they learn a good deal by watching for long periods before they try something themselves. When they do try something, they make rapid progress because of their careful observations. They may be thought of as being slow to warm up. Other children jump in with both feet without giving a thought to the consequences. If these more impulsive children are successful in their endeavors, they may be valued for their speed and compared with children like Dakota. (Bright and quick are sometimes thought to be synonymous with intelligent.) Thus, Dakota’s slow, cautious way of doing things may be undervalued in some settings. That wasn’t the case in either the family or in the school in this situation with Dakota. The teachers decided along with input from the family that though Dakota may look as though she lacks initiative, it’s really a matter of timing more than initiative. An unfamiliar environment slows her down even more. Dakota at home with a sibling or a playmate is much more secure and outgoing, She doesn’t look so shy and cautious. Shyness and caution are situational with Dakota.
© ______ 2009, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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