Shy Toddler Changes Plans

Sometimes I have to marvel over how my plans for being a parent change so much when there’s an actual child involved.  You see, before Norton was even born, my husband and I had decided that I would homeschool.  Recently, I’ve realize a few reasons that will have to change.  It all centers around raising a shy toddler.

Considering how bold Andy has always been, I never anticipated a shy toddler.  I’m not sure how much of this is nurture or nature, but what I do know is that I have to adjust my plans to suit the child that I have instead of expecting my child to adjust his temperament to suit my plans.

Norton is clearly an introvert.  That’s okay; he comes by it honestly.  My husband is an introvert.  I seem to be becoming more and more introverted as I age.  (Don’t confuse introversion with shyness.  Neither the husband nor I are shy; we’d just prefer to interact with smaller groups of people… or no people.  However, I don’t have issues with public speaking and have facilitated large groups without any problems.)

Interestingly enough, though, Norton seems to be more shy than introverted at this point in time.  And it’s starting to be a bit concerning. Part of what made Norton’s speech delay playgroup hard was that Norton would melt down when we left him.  I know that Eudora’s birth didn’t help, of course, but the social stuff was also new for him.  By the end of playgroup, he was doing much better.  The peer interaction made a huge difference in helping him catch up with his toddler language delay.

We seem to have backtracked, though.  Recently, we met a friend and her kids at the neighborhood park.  We hadn’t played with them in quite some time.  There were also other kids in the park.  All of them were around the same age range, two to four years old.  (Except for Eudora and my friend’s daughter, of course.  They’re under a year and spent their time being held by their moms.)  All of the other kids were playing together in the gravel, sharing and taking turns.  Norton stayed at the other end of the play structure and freaked out if I went more than three feet away from him.

I realized then that there were a few things that we’d have to do that were not part of my game plan.  Norton needed to go to preschool.  And I’m not going to be able to homeschool Norton as I’d hoped.  Sure, I could do the academic stuff, but I’m not social enough.  I don’t like to go out and interact with people; it’s stressful for me.  Norton clearly needs the social interaction so that he doesn’t become a hermit who never develops social skills.

We’ve already gotten him on the wait list for a fantastic local preschool.  If all goes well, he’ll start there in January.  It’s only a couple of mornings a week for a couple of hours, but that’s exactly what we’re looking for.  From there, it’s time to figure out where we want to go for school.

Did you have a shy toddler?  How did it impact your parenting plans?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. I have the opposite – a NOT shy toddler! He talks to anyone, anywhere. Such a little ham. I do get concerned about it sometimes…but I guess it just means I need to watch him like a hawk!

    Although I do think that ALL toddlers challenge the idea that ANY plans can actually happen the way we think they can! haha

  2. It’s hard raising kids especially these days. Good luck with everything.

  3. None of mine were shy – quite the opposite! They would talk to anyone. When we would go to the mall they would invariably make friends and we would have extra kids trailing along with us. In fact one of my sons was so talkative that his 2nd grade teacher wisely sat him at a table with a another boy who was very delayed and not talking as sort of a talking mentor. He was talking by the end of the term!

  4. It sounds like you are doing exactly what Norton needs. Good for you for realizing that your child’s personality is more important than your plans. It’s great that you are seeking out the socialization he needs.

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