Hi, I'm Tricia.

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Amanda

My three yr old twins Jacob and Emma can be "shy" at times too. Especially when it comes to visitors in our home. I just encourage them to stay close to me until they feel comfortable. If they never do, that's fine, but most times, they warm up and show their fun personalities. I'd say just to make it comfortable for Maddie and not pressure her into anything - she'll shine no matter what!

Kate Coveny Hood

Oh Tricia - this was me. So I can give you her perspective. She knows that she can play with other kids, and she wants to - but she just "can't." She could never explain why to you because she doesn't really know why herself. It's like having a block.

It often took me days to warm up to a new environment or group of kids. I remember sitting and watching the kids at my grade school after school care play. They even ASKED me to join in and I said I just wanted to watch. But within the week I got in there. I just needed some time to assimilate.

So the best thing you can do is keep her in social situations as much as possible. I know you personally, so I know that you are handling things perfectly, letting her know that you're right there, but not giving up and going home. She'll eventually grow out of it in her own way.

While I was very social and had lots of friends, I was a teenager with a fair amount of inhibitions as well - especially with the boys (which as a mother, I now see as not such a bad thing...)

But I honestly think that all shy kids eventually come into their own areas of confidence. It may be in small ways over a long period of time (like me) or it may just turn itself around by elementary school. The important thing is that you're giving her a sense of security while at the same time encouraging her to break out of her shell.

All you can really do is have patience.

Diana

I was a shy little girl when it came to new surroundings or strange people. Put me in a room that I knew with people that I knew and I was completely opposite.

I think what helped me was some of the things my parents phrased things vs. how other parents phrased things. Not saying you are saying the wrong things. Its just one of the key things I think that helped me. For example, during a ballet/piano recital, my parents wouldn't say "there are going to be a lot of people here" but would say things like "You really nailed your routine last night and you're going to great. We'll be in the audience cheering you on!".
I think those things helped.

I also had the "older sister" issue with her fighting all my battles and talking a lot for me. It just happens when you have older siblings. For me I did activities that my sister did, but also activities that were just for me. It helped me blossom a little more to find my voice. With my sister always always there...it was a little harder for me to do that at times. I am still that way...a bit more reserved while my sister is the loud mouth : )

erin

i was shy! my mom loves to tell two stories:
1) it was the local easter egg hunt and i was too shy to run ahead of anyone, so my parents made my brother collect eggs, give them to him, and then they dropped them where i could get them first.
2) i was in a daycare for weeks (3, maybe 4) when i came running out to my parents and said something one afternoon. all the workers gasped, thinking it was a miracle. turns out, i hadn't said a word and they all thought i was a mute.

so, yeah, i'm shy! i would say, don't force her too much - there is nothing worse than feeling like you can't talk to someone and knowing you are disappointing your mother. but, don't coddle her either. shyness gets mistaken for snobbiness and that hurts. keep trying to get her to come out of her shell. see if you can plan some playdates with friends at popular places so she will have her people there to help draw her out. it's tough - on you and on her. remember that! my mom never did and that still stings.

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I feel like I need a cigarette now because this meeting of minds, pop culture and entertainment was so exhilarating.

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