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Extremely shy 3 year old - should we worry?

(18 Posts)
ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Mon 15-Apr-13 21:28:04

My dd is very shy around anyone not in her immediate family (parents, grandparents, some cousins she spends time with). She clams up completely. She also gets very nervous in loud group situations.

Her crèche have raised this with us and noted that she doesn't participate in group activities and rarely speaks. They hardly ever hear full sentences from her (which she has no problem with at home with us).

At her birthday party she burst into tears when 'happy birthday' was sung - it was a large gathering and she seemed very agitated being at the centre of attention of so many.

However if left to her own devices in group situations we usually find she eventually joins in games, running around etc. with other kids and seems happy.

We're not sure whether to be worried or just accept that she is very shy and not a social child. Neither I nor my dh would be extroverts but I'm not sure if we were this extreme as young children. I had a hard time making friends all through my school years and dread her going through the same isolation.

Any thoughts or advice?

stealthsquiggle Mon 15-Apr-13 21:55:31

I don't think I would worry for a while. My DD was very shy, but the range of situations in which she was comfortable gradually grew, and at 6 she is a social butterfly and more confident than me grin blush.

What would worry me more would be why she doesn't feel "at home" at nursery.

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Tue 16-Apr-13 00:27:02

Thanks stealth, yes that's concerning isn't it. She's been there since 11 months for 3 full days a week but for the last 4 months it's only 3 mornings so not comparable to 'home' really. She has always been very quiet there.

She's now in a busy montessori room & I wonder if the level of activity puts her off & she retreats into her shell. I do wonder if I am doing right by her sending her there. I am a bit clueless as to what her creche should be like at this age & whether or not all creches are like this & she would be the same elsewhere.

She is happy to attend & always in great form when I pick her up, chatting about her day.

Jinsei Tue 16-Apr-13 00:38:38

No advice really, but she is who she is. Just love her for being that very special little person, and try not to worry too much.

I was painfully shy as a child. Used to hide behind my mum at social gatherings and every school report I ever had complained that I was too quiet. I even refused to talk to my best friend's older sister for years! These days, I manage a large team of people and regularly talk to large audiences. When I mentioned to a colleague that I'm naturally quite shy, she laughed in my face because she didn't believe me. I've just learnt to cover it well. smile

Exposure to lots of new people and new situations will definitely help, but please don't push it as there is a risk of making her feel inadequate. Your dd will come out of her shell in her own time, I'm sure.

stealthsquiggle Tue 16-Apr-13 07:23:38

Well if she's happy to go, and happy to tell you all about it when she comes home, then I wouldn't worry TBH. As for the party thing - well, it is a bit overwhelming, really. I know some of DD's classmates have never had birthday parties because they just don't enjoy being the centre of attention, and that's fine - it's who they are. Nursery are maybe worrying too much (or just doing their job in letting you know how she is there). I went to a pseudo-montessori school and was never big on being sociable grin.

One thing definitely not to do is to let her start to describe herself as shy - it's a self-fulfilling prophecy IME/O.

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Tue 16-Apr-13 09:27:32

Thanks Jinsei and stealth. I feel a bit more reassured by your responses. Hopefully she will come out of her shell in her own time

JedwardScissorhands Tue 16-Apr-13 09:49:09

Have you had her hearing tested? DS was exactly like your DD, it turns out he has hearing problems. I didn't suspect this because he could hear a pin drop at hone,; the problem was where there was background noise etc.

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Tue 16-Apr-13 10:51:40

No I haven't Jedward, she has her 3 year check with HV coming up so will mention it then. How is your DS doing now?

JedwardScissorhands Tue 16-Apr-13 11:05:19

Five - found the problem during the reception class hearing test. At 3, I would simply have described him as shy in group settings.

GadaboutTheGreat Tue 16-Apr-13 11:16:57

I have a shy nearly 3yo. I don't like describing her a shy tbh, but it's often the easiest/quickest way of explaining her quietness to strangers/people she doesn't know well.

What would be a better, more positive word to use?

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Tue 16-Apr-13 11:38:47

Jedward, are his hearing problems significant, can anything improve it?

JedwardScissorhands Tue 16-Apr-13 11:42:26

Yes, it's a really simple glue ear issue that grommets should help. He hasn't really had ear infections in the past either, just a few episodes of sore ears when he's had a cold.

piedpiper4 Tue 16-Apr-13 19:22:57

Hi Thats, when you say she clams up in public could it be something like selective mutism? Might be worth having a look at this as can appear as being extreme shyness.

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Tue 16-Apr-13 20:36:55

Hi piedpiper thanks for your reply, I'm not sure,she would still talk to us in such situations for eg uf she wanted something, would that happen with selective mutism?

piedpiper4 Tue 16-Apr-13 22:33:43

Sm can be very complicated, especially when they are so young. My dd did speak to us in public ie when we were in somewhere like Sainsburys. Its very different for each child. Might be worth having a quick google and see if there's anything there you recognise. It's very rare, so probably not, but because its so rare not many early years professionals spot it, which is why I've mentioned it.

shellbu Wed 17-Apr-13 09:42:08

my daughter suddenly stopped speaking for a whole year ,from the minute we left the house till we got back home , suddenly she snapped out of it ,i just ignored it in front of her but worried myself sick really , she laughs about it now and says she really doesnt know why she was so shy ,she has a good circle of friends and is very happy , i wouldnt worry or make a fuss about her shyness im sure it will all sort out in the end .

ThatsNotAKnifeThatsASpoon Wed 17-Apr-13 16:27:49

Piedpiper thanks, I will check it out properly on google, hopefully it's not an issue for her.

Shellbu I hope I will have a similar story to tell in a few years & we can look back on this stage & laugh smile.

piedpiper4 Wed 17-Apr-13 17:10:18

Hope so too. Pm me if you feel you need to. Well done Shellbu, that's exactly the right way to deal with it.

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