I have read a few books on how to help with anxiety in children over the years, and here is a summary of what I have taken from them all, hopefully they might come in handy if you have a shy child:
1. AWARENESS: always be aware of your child's emotions and LET THEM KNOW you are aware - do not fob them off or challenge how they are feeling - only they know how they feel! Saying things like 'you are being ridiculous' will belittle them and make them distrust their own emotions and feel let down by you.
2. NORMALISE THEIR FEELINGS: label the emotion for them so they know its REAL and its ok and NORMAL.
3. EMPATHISE and say you know and understand how it feels - perhaps say you or someone they know well used to feel like that too.
4. STAY CALM & try not to get cross & frustrated
5. LISTEN: Ask what the problem is and WHY are feeling sad or worried etc -
6. MOTIVATE them to overcome it, use a reward if necessary! In the past I have used a method called the ROCKET METHOD. I drew a rocket and stuck it on the fridge. I split it into sections. The top section was the reward section, the ultimate goal for rocket lift off, with a reward of the child's choice! Then the sections below reward behaviours leading up to the ultimate goal. Eg if it's joining in a football club, the ultimate goal is to join in for the full session. This might start by playing for 5 mins with Dad on the side line one week. Then playing on the sideline for 20 mins with Dad. Then next week playing with the team for 5 mins, then 10 mins etc etc, rewarding each little step with a little gift... until the big prize of lift off for joining in the whole session! This splits the activity into manageable chunks for the child... it has really worked in the past for my kids!
The book I have found the most helpful is probably The Heart of Parenting by John Gottman. It's actually just a totally fab book on parenting generally and how to raise an emotionally intelligent child.
This one is also brilliant: Overcoming a childs shyness and social anxiety it's just a little bit more hardcore than the one above, outlining some CBT techniques to help with shyness. Might be worth a read too. xx