backup og meta
Health Screening
Ask Doctor

The Benefits of Shyness in Kids

Medically reviewed by Jezreel Esguerra, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Dec 02, 2022

The Benefits of Shyness in Kids

Parents often worry when their child appears quiet and shy. But while there are some drawbacks, being shy also has some advantages. What are the benefits of shyness in kids, and how can you help them overcome it?

Shyness vs. Introversion: Are They the Same?

Some people use the terms “shy” and “introvert” interchangeably, but experts say there’s a big difference between them.

Introverted children like spending time alone. They are happy playing with toys or reading a book without a companion.

Shy kids or behaviorally inhibited children are different. When you look at them and see their trademark coy smile, it’s easy to tell that they want to interact with others. However, attention and social interaction can also be sources of stress for them.

benefits of shyness in kids

Experts say shyness could be evident in babies as young as 4 months old. Some babies look at new toys or listen to new melodies with awe and excitement. On the other hand, some babies respond with distress: arching their back and crying.

Babies who react this way might grow up with behavioral inhibition or shyness as their sensitivity to new objects can translate to sensitivity to new social interactions.

Being Shy Doesn’t Cause Language Delays

Before we start discussing the benefits of shyness in kids, let’s first put your mind at ease: shyness doesn’t seem to cause any type of language delay.

According to experts, shy children may experience speech problems, but there are no issues in their ability to speak.  Moreover, researchers discovered that behaviorally inhibited kids can still understand what you’re telling them.

Experts say that for shy kids, the case is more in the “I know, but I won’t tell” scenario than in the “I don’t know and I can’t” situation.

The Benefits of Shyness in Kids

Behavioral inhibition has some drawbacks, like reduced socialization time and increased risk of developing social anxiety, but according to experts, it also has some advantages as follows:

1. Shy children are great listeners

Because jumping into a conversation is quite overwhelming for shy children, their instinct is to listen first. In the long run, they become good listeners, which could make them good conversationalists in the future.

2. Behaviorally inhibited kids are careful

Shy kids, with their quiet nature, are cautious and more attuned to environmental threats. Their careful demeanor makes them great team players. Experts say any group would benefit from having people of varying levels of vitality or enthusiasm.

3. Shy kids have livelier inner thoughts

Finally, one of the best benefits of shyness in kids is that they might have livelier inner thoughts. A lot of things play in their minds, and at the same time, they can take in what’s happening around them without a problem.

How To Coax Them Out of Their Shells

Should you be worried about your child’s behavioral inhibition? Generally, you shouldn’t.

Many shy kids grow up to be capable adults who can do more than speak in front of crowds; many of them turn out to be great leaders. But as youngsters, they need your help to come out of their shells.

How do you help a child overcome shyness? According to experts, the key lies in social experience. Allow and encourage your child to participate in parties, games, and other social activities.

benefits of shyness in kids

Keep in mind that a behaviorally inhibited child can join and take delight in social activities; it’s just that they need more time warming up.

That’s why when you introduce them to new people, avoid saying that they are shy as the other party might think that your child doesn’t want to interact.

Instead, why not tell them that your little one just takes a while to warm up? This way, other kids will know that they can play with your child, and they will not mistake your child’s quiet nature for unfriendliness.

When Shyness Is Something Else

Even though shyness offers benefits, remember to keep a close eye on some red flags. This is because shyness or being too quiet or withdrawn may be a sign of developmental concern.

For instance, aversion to making eye contact could be a sign of autism. Likewise, showing frustration because they cannot express what they want to tell you could be indicative of a language delay.

In case your child’s shyness is interfering with their growth and development, the best course of action is to bring them to the doctor.

Learn more about Parenting here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jezreel Esguerra, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Dec 02, 2022

ad iconadvertisement

Was this article helpful?

ad iconadvertisement
ad iconadvertisement