We were leaving a friend's birthday party when an elderly man approached my 2.5-year-old daughter. "Did you have a good time, sweetie?" he asked, leaning down. In typical fashion, she retreated behind my legs, thumb firmly in mouth. "Yes, sir," I responded for her. "Someday you're going to have to learn how to speak for yourself!" he told her. I was indignant. My daughter's shyness is a trait, not a personal failing. Right? In most cases, yes, but it turns out there are some times you should pay attention to your kid's shyness.
My daughter's timidity has never really concerned me because I was a painfully shy child myself. I was so reserved that my sister would have to order my food for me at restaurants when we went to dinner with our biological dad, who we rarely saw. As I made good friends in high school, though, I started to grow out of my intense shyness. Now I'm a full-fledged extrovert. Even if my daughter's bashfulness isn't a phase, I feel fairly comfortable with it. Shyness has its benefits, according to Ask Dr. Sears, from attentive listening to deep thinking.
So, no, I'm not too worried about the fact that my toddler is slow to warm up, but her shyness is something I'm going to keep an eye on. Sometimes, it's a red flag that something else is going on. So with that in mind, here are the signs to look for: