My nearly four year old is in kindy and loves it. Trouble is there is one part of it that is making him feel teary. He's required to do a show and share as part of his activities but is terrified of doing so. He is a very shy little boy and the thought of standing infront of his classmates and showing and sharing is all too much for him. Do you have any suggestion on how I can encourage him that this is a fun activity and doing things that are a littly scary is a part of life. Concerned mum of one brave but timid kindy boy.
For some of our more sensitive kids getting up in front of the class can be really terrifiying – that’s why I think its so great that now kids get to practice from a very early age rather than waiting till high school! The reason they start this so early is to help kids who find this difficult and give them plenty of practice in front of others.
There is a few strategies that you can do to help him through this. Firstly I would get him to practice. By this I mean once he has picked his show n share item, talk about it together and then get him to practice in the lounge room. Sit down and pretend you are the audience. Praise him if he is standing straight, keeping still, and looking at you. If he finds the eye contact too hard, then another little trick is too look above everyone’s heads and not at their faces.
When he can do it in front of you and dad, then ask anyone else you see if they would like to sit and listen – grandma, neighbour, friend…. All will be more than willing to be audience for him. The more he practices the easier it will be to get up in front of the class. If having an audience is too big a step start with the mirror – just him and the mirror, be sure to say it out loud.
Next I would talk to him about his anxious feelings – say its ok to feel scared and talk about what thoughts you think might be going through his mind like ‘you wish everyone would stop looking at you don’t you’ or ‘you are worried you won’t remember what you are going to say’ – just by simply saying this out loud and by saying we all feel like that sometimes and it’s ok, but then give him something to do with his mind like look at the kids and see what colour shirts they have on or what pictures are on their shirts – teaching him how to distract his mind is the key to being able to cope and do this.