You are here

Get Answers

Sometimes it's nice to get advice from experts with a lot of letter degrees behind their names, but other times, you just need to hear what another parent (with a M.O.M. behind her name) has done that has worked. You've got questions? These moms have answers.

Need advice on helping my 5 yr shy son

5 answers
My 5 year old son is having a difficult time staying involved in sports and activity programs as a result of his shyness. He has a difficult time participating in any activity that involves being around children he does not know or activities that his dad or I can not join him in. He will either act out while at the event (i.e. soccer practice, T-ball practice, etc) or completely withdraw from the group and sit alone and not talk to anyone. He "dropped" out of Sunday school this year because he was terrified of going and not being familiar with the other children or the teacher. He is a very smart and articulate child and he has openly told me that he is afraid to do these things alone. One might think that he simply does not like the sport or activity, but he has told me that he wants to play T Ball and that he wants to play soccer and go to Sunday School. I don't want him to quit activities he is interested in because of his fears. My husband and I don't see eye to eye on the issue and my husband just jumps to the conclusion of removing my son from the activity permanently. I don't think this is the solution. I think I need to come up with ways to make my son comfortable so that he can continue to participate in things that he wants to try. The coach at T Ball is open to allowing me to participate with my son in practice, and I think this could help. I guess I am looking for suggestions on helping ease the shyness/anxiety as well as support that I am doing the right thing by encouraging him to continue to participate in activities that he is interested in but having a difficult time with overcoming his shyness. My husband feels that I am "pushing" him to do things he doesn't want to do, but when my son tells me that he still wants to play T-ball, soccer, etc, I don't think I am pushing him to continue going to practice.

answers (5)

Hi,I think your son is carrying a hidden problem and it is one of the typical behaviors I have seen in many boys and girls. People (or children) of that kind can subconsciously change themselves at two times. 1. at the time of their growing older and 2. changing the environment they live in. Here I will suggest you not worry too much about this as having a little bit shyness is not bad!...Thanks.babysitting rates
If he has never been to preschool or is new to this it is completly normal behavior. Either way, he may just be sensitive. If he hasn't been around a big group of kids before especially away from you (his comfort zone) it can be intimidating. If he is still intrested in going, and the coach is cool with you joining him, go and help him adjust slowly. Once he sees that he will be fine, and he can acctually enjoy the other children he will forget all about needing you there. Start trying to leave a little earlier every practice, make sure he knows your leaving, if he isn't cool with it tell him your going to the car and spend a few minutes by the car before going back. Every kid is different, but if you are very concered you can always see a physcologist, but most likely this is normal jitters he will quickly see are silly.
I have a shy guy too.  He's in High School now and involved in sports, band, and NHS--he even earned an Eagle Scout!  We had to learn to help him become empowered and face his fears.  For church: we had play dates with his classmates so he could get to know them, at our house and then other places.  We talked with the teacher.  Volunteering to teach his class may or may not help. For sports and school:  privately let the coach, teacher, or leader know your concerns.  Don' t go on and on about his issues--just the facts.  Be available to your child but don't hover.  Let them learn to grow at their own pace.  Two books that really helped me with all my children are:Marti Olsen Laney's Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child, Helping Your Child Thrive in an Extroverted Worldand the book Playful Parenting by a Dr. Cohen, sorry can't remember his last name.  I found both these books at the library but I think they are also available on Amazon.Best Wishes to you.  We are now trying to prepare our shy guy to go to college.  He hasn't gotten over his shyness, he's learned coping skills.  His shyness and introverted personality and part of who he is.  We are always encouraging him to be his healthiest and best self. Possible helps at my blog at
Thanks for the help.  These problems hadn't surfaced in daycare/preschool/kindergarten only because he has been when the same group of kids since he was 14 mos old.  I am going to try to take him alone to T-ball this week and get a babysitter for his sister so I can focus on making him comfortable.  I want him to be able to learn how to NOT let his fears steer him from his interests; as a shy person myself, I lost out on pursuing a lot of my own goals and interests because of fears.  It's dificult because my husband is very outgoing and has little understanding for what my son is feeling, and he often becomes frustrated by it.  I appreciate the book suggestions- I'll look into them!
I have coached my son since he was 4. He's seven now, he started soccer and baseball at 4, basketball at 6 and golf this year.  When he was 5, at least half the parents/grandparents were on the field with their boys.  It would have been better if ALL the kids' parents were on the field with them.  ANY coach of kids this age would absolutely welcome any parent who wants to help out with coaching the team or just their own child if that's the case.  You SHOULD be there to throw the baseball or kick a soccer ball with him not because he's shy but because it is good for him and you.You may also need to assess your son's physical abilities. Age five is when kids do begin to develop the ability to master certain skills and to be able to grasp team sports concepts. However, not all kids develop at the same pace and your son may find it more difficult to master certain skills. Don't let him get frustrated, just keep playing with him and MAKE IT FUN! The YMCA teaches their staff about AGE APPROPRIATE ACTIVITIES.  This means that most kindergarteners don't have the motor skills and coordination to play golf (nor attention span) and 4th graders would be bored to death playing Duck, Duck, Goose. (I was a Y councelor decades ago)As for the shyness.  Make playdates with other boys parents and have them play together. They may not play "together", kids at five may still play in parallel to each other but that's okay. You can also introduce soccer or basketball in playdates but make it fun and don't just sit on the side. You need to initiate playing by kicking a soccer ball to the other mom or get a miniture basketball hoop and start playing.  Both boys will likely join in as kids love to beat their parents at anything. Pick new kids that your son doesn't know well, ask a parent on the team to schedule a playdate.  Take you son out of his comfort zone a piece at a time and he'll begin to open up more.  If you allow him to remain in his comfort zone only playing with kids he's known since he was born he may never be able to break his shyness.  I don't know what his dad is doing but he should get involved as well. 

*DISCLAIMER's Answers are provided by members of our community. While your fellow moms and our editors have plenty of great advice to offer based on their experience, it is not a substitute for professional medical help. Always consult a medical professional when seeking medical advice. All submitted answers are subject to the rules set forth in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use