6 Ways Your Babysitter Can Bond With Your Shy Child

By Alicia Geigel on December 22, 2023

Babysitting can be a tough job, especially if you have a shy child. As the parent of a shy child, you may be weary to bring in a babysitter because your child is difficult to work with. With the right babysitter and the right tips, however, your babysitter can form a strong bond with your child and give you a sense of peace knowing that your child is in good care.

If you have a small child and are looking for ways your babysitter can bond with them, here are some useful tips to pass on to your new sitter.

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1. Advise Against Labeling Them as Shy: Though the word “shy” isn’t necessarily negative, it can hold a negative connotation if used in a bad way. Even if your babysitter has the most innocent of intentions, using the label of shy when speaking to your child can make them feel like something is wrong with them, and like they are different. As you work with your babysitter, advise them to refrain from using the word “shy” around your child and from labeling them as such. Doing so will help them focus less on the label and more on activities and lessons to help them be more outgoing.

2. Tell the Babysitter to Exercise Patience and Understanding: Shy children can be shy for a number of reasons, ranging from their personality to familial relationships and learned behavior. It isn’t easy to navigate the world as a shy person, as just about every move you make has to involve an element of social interaction. The right babysitter does not need a reminder to be patient, understanding, and compassionate towards children in general, but in the case of your shy child, give them a light reminder to exercise an extra amount of understanding and patience for your child. When a child feels loved and understood, they are more likely to open up and feel more comfortable to explore life.

3. Have the Babysitter Follow Their Interests: Some shy kids are shy because they feel like no one quite understands them or their interests. When you feel alone and uncomfortable in your own skin, it’s hard to want to break out of your shell. When your babysitter is preparing for time with your child, have them show curiosity in your child’s interests. Tell the babysitter what your child likes, such as video games, toys, animals, books, etc., and encourage your babysitter to ask questions about their interests. This will help your child feel seen, and perhaps motivate them to be more verbal and outgoing about what they are passionate about

4. Tell the Babysitter to Set Goals and Reward Progress: Being shy isn’t something that has to be a core part of your child’s personality for the rest of their lives. While they may have elements of shyness as they grow up and become adults, they can blossom into a person who isn’t intimidated by new experiences, new people, and new things. Recommend that your babysitter set goals with your child to help them become more comfortable with exploring new things, whether it’s food, talking to people, going to new places, etc. “Work with your child to set behavior goals and track his progress. Start small and gradually build. For example, one manageable goal might be to say hello to a neighbor,” says Susan Light of Dilly’s Tree House.

5. Encourage the Babysitter to Highlight Their Strengths: Shy children have strengths outside of being shy. A great way your babysitter can bond with your child is by highlighting their strengths. If your shy child is great at art, such as drawing or painting, have your babysitter encourage them to make art and praise their efforts. If your shy child loves to cook, suggest that your babysitter bring them into the kitchen to help them make a kid-friendly dinner. Having that kind of positive reinforcement will motivate them to strengthen their skills, have fun, and explore new ways to learn and grow.

6. Help the Babysitter Expose Them to New Things: Perhaps your shy child is a picky eater, stock your fridge with some foods that you think your child will be able to eat to help your babysitter expose them to new food. If your child is fearful of new places, have your babysitter talk to them about the place beforehand and show them videos and pictures of what the place looks like before they take them there. Bring them out to a park to interact with kids on the playground or with people walking their friendly dogs. Regardless of what the activity is, helping your babysitter expose your kid to new things will break them out of their comfort zone and allow them to see more of the world outside their own bubble.

Though your child may not become extroverted or outgoing overnight, with the help of the right babysitter and these tips, they will likely break out of their shell and have the ability to form close bonds with the babysitter, friends, and family.

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