Preschool and kindergarten are a child’s first taste of school, entry points for the years of education that lie ahead. Some children find school a thrilling experience: They wave their hands in the air to answer questions, belt out songs during group sings, and are the first to sit down for snacks.
Other children are less thrilled. Shy or more reserved kids can find the strangeness and activity overwhelming. They may hesitate to speak out in class, hold back from the group, or prefer to keep to themselves, playing quietly in a corner.
Talk to the teacher
Start by comparing notes on how your child acts at school and at home. What activities does your child love at home that isn’t part of the classroom? What does your child dislike that he or she is expected to do at school? Gather information with your child’s teachers, and look for ways to help make the classroom an engaging and comfortable place. “Meet with the teacher and work out a plan
Bring his interests to school
For example, if your child is fascinated by bugs but bugs haven’t been talked about much at school, let him bring his collection to the classroom. Make sure the teacher doesn’t force your child to make a formal presentation, but ask her to set up an opportunity for your child to talk or answer questions. The teacher could hold a bug discussion using your child’s materials as the visual aids, or create a bug station based on your child’s supplies.
Go to school
Your being in the classroom can help your shy child feel more comfortable at school. Your schedule may not allow regular or lengthy classroom visits, but even touching base now and then gives you a chance to observe. Most kids will consider a visit from Mom or Dad a special treat.
Make sure he’s challenged
It may be that activities at school are boring your child because they’re too easy. If you suspect this is an issue, work with the teacher on ways to give your child more challenge. Maybe the teacher could borrow materials from a higher grade to have on hand for your child.
Focus on his accomplishments
Don’t just pay attention to the stumbling blocks. Doing fun and easy school activities at home is a wonderful way to ease participation fears. Most classes have favorite group songs, bellowed around the classroom or at least at music or circle time. Find out which ones your child enjoys, and make them part of the evening routine. If your child gains confidence in singing at home, this can rub off in the classroom.