Even the most confident kids can suddenly become mute if they’re asked a question. This is a totally normal reaction.
We have to step in as their parent so that there’s no awkward silence - but there’s some great and not so great ways of doing this.
WHAT’S NOT SO GREAT:
😔 Making an excuse as to why your child isn’t talking by labelling them, I.e. “she’s shy”. Your little one is listening and they’ll be hearing over and over again this trait that you’re attributing to them. Kids live up to what we say about them, so if you don’t want your kid to think they’re shy, don’t tell people they are.
🤨 Putting pressure on your child to respond. If your child understood the question and felt confident enough to respond then they’d just respond. Their silence is signalling to us that they need support, not pressure.
A BETTER WAY TO RESPOND:
💚 Answer the question as if you are your child, in the first person. So if someone says “what have you been up to today, little one?” You can respond “I’ve been to nursery today and now we’re going grocery shopping”.
👌 You’re filling the empty silence
👌 You’re supporting your child when they don’t have the confidence to talk right now
👌 You’re giving an excellent example of what they COULD say on another occasion
👌 You’re modelling how to keep a conversations going and take a turn
👌 The person isn’t offended and your child doesn’t feel labelled
Remember that it’s normal for kids to not want to speak to everyone - it’s a very important, engrained survival technique. We need to respect their boundaries and back them up when they need us.
What do you do when your little one is feeling too shy to talk?