Children's Minnesota in the News

Dr. Jerstad explains extreme shyness

Dr. Sarah Jerstad, pediatric psychologist at Children’s Minnesota, explained to Minnesota Parent that some shyness in a child is developmentally normal but that if it persists or gets worse, it can disrupt functioning. This is known as extreme shyness. Dr. Jerstad narrowed down a typical treatment plan into three steps:

  1. Try to discover why a child feels fearful or anxious and learn how to support him or her.
  2. Help children develop coping strategies they can use in situations that make them feel anxious.
  3. Make a plan for slow, graduated exposure to new situations that will give the child a chance to practice socializing, including praise and rewards for being brave.

“As much as possible, this is a behavior that has to be practiced,” Dr. Jerstad said. “Get kids involved in social interactions in some way — sports, activities, programs like ECFE, where kids and parents can be interacting with other kids. Practice from an early age is really critical.”

Read the full Minnesota Parent article: Beyond Shy.

Hayley Sitz