Both of my older kids tend to be on the shy side. Jonathan has really been coming out of his shell over the last year and a half and Elizabeth is very firmly, will throw a fit kicking and screaming if we try to coax her out, planted in her shell.
We had the first parent-teacher conference at school today. Jonathan is doing great but the teacher said he is timid and seems afraid to speak up when called on even if he knows the answer. He's also a bit reluctant to join in with kids if they are already in the midst of play, though, she said he is okay if he initiates the play. I'm not surprised at any of these things. I've seen similar behavior at story time at the library or at vacation Bible school or other social settings.
So, how do you gently encourage a shy child to overcome his fears? I'm not expecting a cure-all or something that will change him overnight, but I would like to try to help him. I'm fairly shy myself and I would like to empower my children so that they don't feel so uncomfortable in social situations like I do. Any thoughts?