Independent thinking is the act of thinking for yourself and trying to decipher whether something is true and acceptable. It is a skill that must be developed in all children at a young age (within their abilities), but is often difficult in shy children, especially those who struggle in daycare. Thankfully, it is possible to use the child’s very shy nature to help them master independent thinking skills.
Tapping Into The Shy Child’s Strengths
The biggest mistake parents of a shy child make is to try to “correct” this shy behavior. This is true when a child is going to daycare, as it is important to develop social skills during this period. However, there’s nothing wrong with a shy child. They just see and interact with the world differently from extroverted children.
Indeed, shy children have different strengths and abilities than extroverted children, strengths that you can tap into to encourage their independent thinking. For example, studies have shown that shy children are often gifted and are simply observing the situation and examining it intellectually.
Don’t discourage the child from silently observing a scene, but teach them to ask why something is occurring and to understand the social interactions in the room more fully. One of the keys to independent thinking is asking the question “why” and fully exploring it.
Encouraging Independent Thinking Everyday
When your child is at home, you should encourage independent thinking as much as possible so that they can apply these lessons in daycare. Many shy children may be extroverted when at home and comfortable with the family. So when you have them with you, go through some simple activities to encourage their independent thinking skills, such as getting them to ask questions like:
- Why does mommy want me to do chores?
- Why is Squidward so mean to Spongebob?
- Where does the food on the table come from?
- What is the point of saying grace at the dinner table?
Questions like these encourage your child to think about the world from their own unique angle and gets them to explore the truth of the reality about them. These skills, taught at the dinner table and at home, will translate into more independent thinking at daycare, helping them to feel stronger and more confident.
And that is one of the most important things about this process: increasing your shy child’s confidence. By helping them think more independently in daycare, you are giving them the opportunity to understand that it’s okay to be shy and to learn other socialization skills during this crucial development period.