It may seem obvious, but one of the best things you can do to support your shy child is to give her a secure attachment — a loving, affectionate, and supportive home environment throughout her childhood. You can also help your child by socializing
her during her toddler and preschool years. If your toddler doesn't spend much time with other children, find play groups and music classes in your area. When your child reaches age 3, consider enrolling her in preschool
, even if it's only for a few hours a week. Keep in mind that separation anxiety
is common among babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, and doesn't mean your child will be shy or have low self-esteem
down the road. According to the AAP , separation anxiety is "entirely normal behavior" and a sign of a meaningful attachment between parent and child. Follow these tips for surviving separation anxiety
. If possible, start with shorter "practice" separation periods from your child, and gradually spend more time apart after she acclimates to new people and situations. Also, help boost your preschooler's confidence and social skills
by arranging one-on-one play dates with peers, limiting her time doing solo activities (such as watching TV), giving her some undivided attention every day, and teaching her age-appropriate life skills
. Don't force things like handshakes and hugs when your shy child is little. Instead, model good social graces for your child to see.