Shy or quiet: what’s the difference?

Sometimes as parents we worry that our child is shy but maybe they are simply quiet. How can we tell the difference and encourage our child to engage well with others? Here are some thoughts on that from The Growing Child, the newsletter distributed by Lifestart.

Shy or Quiet: What’s the difference

There is a fine line between “quiet” and “shy.” Shyness implies inadequacy, an inability to deal with people or situations, an inability to communicate thoughts or feelings. The major difference between “shy” and “quiet” is the child’s comfort and happiness. Is he alone or is he lonely? Does he prefer not to say anything, or does he want to express himself but is afraid or unable to do so. Does he have positive or negative feelings about himself?

The shy child is self-conscious and fears others’ evaluations or rejections. The quiet child is probably making evaluations of others. (Ask his opinions. His insight might surprise you!) The shy child is unable to reach out to others, take risks, or approach new situations. He holds feelings and emotions inside and may be unpopular and uncomfortable around peers.

Most people are naturally shy to some degree. We don’t rush into new situations, talk to every stranger we meet, or share our every thought, idea, or emotion. However, the quiet child has the potential of crossing the line into shyness. If he is not encouraged to communicate and does not express himself, he could develop self-doubts, real or imagined rejection, misinterpretation of others’ comments, or lack of communication.

It is important for parents to observe and know their child. If the child is quiet, parents can communicate verbally to reinforce the child’s self-worth and to provide a supportive home life.

 

The GROWING TOGETHER NEWSLETTER is issued by; GROWING CHILD Inc., and is distributed free, courtesy of: THE LIFESTART FOUNDATION,
2, Springrowth House, Balliniska Rd.,
Springtown Ind. Estate, L’Derry BT48 OGG
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Web Site: www.lifestartfoundation.org

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Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.

 

The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books (www.mychild.ie/books) and also on www.MyChild.ie  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.

 

In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  

 

Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  

 

In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the www.mychild.ie website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at www.mychild.ie

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from healthy.childhood@hse.ie

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