My Son Is Too Shy

Dear Sara,

My three-year-old son is very shy and fearful of anyone he doesn’t know. He grabs on to me and hides his face. He thinks that no one can see him then. I would like for him to go to preschool next year so I can go back to work but the way he’s acting now I think it might be too difficult for him. How can I help him get over his fears?

Dear Abbie,

If your son has not been around other children and adults then he doesn’t have any way of knowing who is good or who is bad. If it’s possible he needs to be introduced to small groups of children his age and find out on his own that he can trust people he doesn’t know. See if there is a daycare or preschool group that you could take him to and just let him sit on your lap and watch the other children play. He may hide his face for a while but he will probably be curious enough to watch after he sees nothing bad is happening. Hopefully, he will see that everything is safe enough and he will be brave enough to join in the play. Don’t rush him and let him go at his own pace.


  1. Robin Hubbard says:

    Let me tell you, your child knows how to pull your strings. I saw this all of the time in 2 year olds. I had one child who cried rivers, trying to prolong the good bye. About half of girls will cry tears while the other half can’t because it is fake. Less than 5 minutes after the parent is gone, they are playing and laughing and all. I expect you son plays with other kids at the park or when you visit friends or family. Make a point to show him how to meet strangers. Speak to another mother shopping with kids. Ask questions about the other child and find something in common they have with your child. Then try to bring him into the conversation. Eventually, he will learn to do it himself.

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