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Tips to make going back-to-school easier for shy kids

Even if they deny it, going back to school is typically an exciting time for many kids. But for very shy children and teens, the thought of meeting new teachers and classmates can be terrifying. Here are a few suggestions to make the transition back to school easier for kids who are on the shier side.

Talk to your child about his or her fears and concerns before school starts.
Sometimes just talking things through helps make the experience less scary. 

Spend time at the school prior to the first day (even more than the welcome night).
Eliminating uncertainties about your child's classroom, teachers and navigating the school can help make a new school year easier. Your child might even be able to make a new friend who needs help finding his or her way around.

Practice acceptance.
If you are very outgoing, it might be hard for you to understand how your child is feeling. It's important to not punish, belittle or make fun of your child for how he or she feels. Similarly, make sure you are not pushing him to be someone he or she isn't. 

Build confidence by providing encouragement.
Praise your child for his or her talents (musical ability, art, caring nature, etc.) and make sure your child knows how much he or she is loved. Adding a brief note to your child's lunch bag or backpack expressing your love and support can provide reassurance when you aren't there.

Help your child explore his or her interests.
Find an after-school-activity, sport or group for your child to join, which can lead to them making new friends with similar interests. 

Teach conversation skills.
Give your child simple tips on how to start a conversation with a child he or she doesn't know. Find a comfortable and safe setting to practice conversation skills such as at a local library or a playground.

Reach out to your child's school.
If you know your child is painfully shy, it might be a good idea to let his or her teachers know this in advance. Many schools also offer counselors who can meet with you and your child to help address any underlying issues.

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