You probably have never heard of a shyness doll -- that's because it's this blogger's personal idea for a way to help bashful children overcome their shyness. But if you have a very shy child and are interested in getting him or her to be less timid, you may want to consider purchasing a shyness doll (garage sales are great places to do this, of course!) and going through these steps.
Any toy can be a shyness doll, from a plastic McDonald's Happy Meal toy to a giant stuffed bear. Ideally, you will find a hug-sized, friendly-looking animal (like a teddy bear) that your child really connects with. If you can, choose their favorite animal or character from a movie -- anything to help create a kinship between your child and the toy. Garage sales are great places to find a potential shyness doll, because if for some reason your child doesn't take to it, you won't have spent a whole lot of money. Be sure to thoroughly wash and dry any toys, particular stuffed animals, that you buy used, to avoid lice.
Come up with an anti-shyness mantra. This can be anything from "I don't need to be shy!" to "I'm a smart kid," to "I want to talk!" Choose something simple and empowering that your child will respond to. Then, give your child the doll and tell them that every time they feel shy or are spoken to by someone they want to clam up around, they should squeeze the doll, say the mantra, and the doll will give them special powers (or the shyness will go into the doll; whichever you prefer).
Start introducing the doll into situations by role-playing with your child. Take on the role of a stranger you're introducing them to, and ask them what they should do with the doll as they meet this new person. Once your child is comfortable with the idea, take them to non-threatening places -- like garage sales, shopping malls, and grocery stores, or anywhere else that people are minding their own business -- and have them put it into action. Make sure the doll comes with you everywhere so that it becomes a pattern, something comfortable for your young one.
As your child gains confidence and loses their shyness, slowly wean them off the doll. Tell them the doll's power passed to them, and they no longer need to keep it at their side at all times. Don't do this too soon. Even if your child seems a little old to carry a toy around at all times, be certain that their shyness is gone before you take the toy away for good. Encourage them to leave it at home on less intimidating voyages out into the world, especially with more familiar situations, like daycare or preschool.
Once your child is weaned off the doll, reference it as a triumph. Don't let your kid forget about the mind-over-matter victory they achieved!
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