Your child's painful shyness could hurt their academic performance, a new study shows.

Overly shy or withdrawn preschool kids are at a disadvantage in school, more so than outgoing students, according to researchers from the University of Miami.

In an analysis of 4,417 pre-kindergarten children, shy kids began the school year with the lowest academic skills and apparently learned the slowest, the study noted, indicating behavioural issues crop up when classroom expectations differ from a kid's developmental skills.

Also, quieter students run a greater risk of getting overlooked in the classroom, study co-author and UM doctoral candidate in developmental psychology Elizabeth R. Bell pointed out.

"Preschool children who are very introverted tend to 'disappear within the classroom,'" she said. "It appears that while these children are not causing problems in the school, they are also not engaging in classroom activities and interactions, where almost all learning occurs during this age."

For example, shyness can prevent kids from asking questions and hinder group participation.

Meanwhile, it's possible loud children get more attention from teachers, and benefit from existing supports when they act out, the report suggested.

The study researched children participating in a "Head Start" program in a diverse and urban area. It found girls and older children best acclimated to the classroom, displaying both higher levels of math aptitude, social literacy, and language skills.

But don't assume your quiet child will automatically underperform at school -- many confuse shyness and introversion. Analysts believe shy kids fear social interaction, while introverts simply prefer a low "social approach."

Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, even praises introverts who pay close attention to details and act cautiously. And in the classroom, introverts get higher grades, even though "the majority of teachers believe the ideal student is an extrovert" in an increasingly social school environment.

UM researchers used six profiles to describe the preschoolers: 1.Well adjusted; 2. Adjusted with mild disengagement; 3.Moderately socially and academically disengaged; 4. Disruptive with peers; 5.Extremely socially and academically disruptive; 6.Extremely socially and academically disengaged.

To engage shy kids, they suggested training teachers to identify kids who need help, in addition to developing programs to suit the needs of different students.

At home, parents might try setting a good example when socializing and teaching basic social skills.

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  • Tapping Pencils

    Have a budding drummer in the family? These drumstick pencils might drive the teacher crazy -- but at least your child will know you support their passion. <a href="http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/gifts/Drumstick-Pencils/5060043060749-item.html" target="_hplink">Drumstick Pencils</a>, $8.99, Indigo Books & Music

  • Floral Clipboard

    For a quickie place to hold papers (or even replace a binder), it doesn't get much cuter than this. <a href="http://www.capridesigns.com/p-337-clipboard-cotton-blossom.aspx" target="_hplink">Cotton Blossoms Clipboard</a>, $8 (US), Capri Designs.

  • Stick It

    Square Post-its are just not the way to go anywhere -- make all of those reminders prettier (and easier to recall) with pastel colours and a nice trim. <a href="http://www.staples.ca/ENG/Catalog/cat_sku.asp?CatIds=,4988&webid=365639&affixedcode=WW" target="_hplink">Martha Stewart Sticky Notes</a>, $2.99 for 3, Staples.

  • Put A Mustache On It

    It never feels good to have to erase all your hard work, so make yourself laugh at least with this super cute mustache eraser. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Kikkerland-Mustache-Erasers/dp/B005FQ7TSK" target="_hplink">Kikkerland Mustache Eraser</a>, $1.50, Amazon.com.

  • Pocket Cool

    Let your kid's love for British pop reign with a studded pencil case that (let's be honest) could easily double as a super cool purse pouch. <a href="http://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/studded-union-jack-pencil-case/10028117?trail=&fromPLP=true&ancestorID=&searchString=&startSearch=&fromSearchBox=&addFacet=#" target="_hplink">Studded Union Jack Pencil Case</a>, $2, Walmart.

  • Alarm Alert

    Very few kids want to see that alarm in the morning, so make it a little easier on them by getting them something that's at least cool to look at. <a href="http://www.dormco.com/Lime_Green_Cubed_LCD_Digital_Alarm_Clock_Dorm_item_p/l1-4-8-70903.htm" target="_hplink">Lime Green Cubed LCD Digital Clock Alarm</a>, from $16.50, dormco.com.

  • Grow A Lunch?

    Make the lunchbox just that much cuter with a pot that separates out into snacks and meals, as well as utensils. <a href="http://www.rolostore.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=2341" target="_hplink">Lunch Pot</a>, $28.95, Rolo Store.

  • No Drip Cup

    The stainless steel version of a sippy cup, these monsters will accompany your preschooler to nap time and back. <a href="http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/toys/Flip-Sip-Hungry-Monsters/732389022167-item.html?ref=by-shop%3aseasonal%3abts-ore-originals%3alist%3a17" target="_hplink">Flip & Sip in Hungry Monsters</a>, $22.95, Indigo Books & Music.

  • Hang Your Math

    This is pretty snazzy way to ensure you won't forget your calculator for class -- attach this oversized piece tot he outside of your bag and it'll always be there. <a href="http://www.staples.ca/ENG/Catalog/cat_sku.asp?webid=457194&CatIds=&AffixedCode=WW&=&=&=&cm_sp=Splash-_-DollarDeals-_-457194" target="_hplink">Aurex Carabiner 8-Digit Calculator,</a> $2.89 (until September 11), Staples.

  • Bound In Cuteness

    There's nothing like sweet graphic art to help compel kids to get organized in class, is there? <a href="http://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/colour-splash-fashion-binder-15/10028214?trail=&fromPLP=true&ancestorID=&searchString=&moduleName=&startSearch=&fromSearchBox=&addFacet=#" target="_hplink">Colour Splash Fashion Binder</a>, $4.97, Walmart.

  • Put A Name On It

    Part toy, part utility, this notebook comes with 33 "elements" -- letters and symbols to spell out names and subjects -- that can be added to the cover of the book. <a href="http://www.shainsware.com/site/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=13&products_id=48" target="_hplink">Notebook with 33 elements</a>, $13(US), Shains.

  • Recorded Thoughts

    A brilliant little gadget to keep in your locker or in the kitchen for the whole family, this magnetic recorder can tape up to three minutes at a time, for a total of four hours recorded time. Ideal to keep track of to do lists and phone calls. <a href="http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/ereading/devices/Play-Video-Memo-Pad-Green/846654001273-item.html" target="_hplink">Play Video Memo Pad</a>, from $49.99, Indigo Books & Music.

  • Mark Your Territory

    No matter how hard your kid tries to be unique, it's inevitable that other children in their class will have items that are at least slightly similar, so end the confusion before it starts with cute labels that show off exactly who everything belongs to. <a href="http://www.mabelslabels.com/products/ultimate+back+to+school+combo" target="_hplink">Ultimate Back-To-School Combo</a> of over 100 labels, $42, Mabel's Labels.

  • Rocking Pack

    A solid backpack is the cornerstone of the school year -- after all, how else can kids get their books, laptop, gym clothes and everything else to school and back safely? Make them proud to wear one every day with a cool pattern like this -- and don't forget <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/13/kids-backpacks-safety_n_1772750.html?utm_hp_ref=quick-study" target="_hplink">the essentials of saving your child's back</a>. <a href="http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Packs/SchoolBags/PRD~5028-200/deuter-giga-daypack.jsp" target="_hplink">Deuter Giga Daypack</a>, $78, Mountain Equipment Co-op.

  • Plaid For Her

    Plaid can work for both genders -- check on this prettier take on the pattern in a comfy padded bag. <a href="http://" target="_hplink">Athletic Works Backpack,</a> $19, Walmart.

  • To-Do Lists

    We all know writing things down is a surefire way to help get them done -- and we think that goes doubly when they're on such a great-looking surface. <a href="http://www.seejanework.com/productcart/pc/Bamboo-Desktop-Dry-Erase-Board-102p4125.htm" target="_hplink">Bamboo Desktop Dry-Erase Board</a>, $14(US), See Jane Work.

  • Stainless In Any Size

    Keeping kids hydrated is a whole task in itself, so find some inducement in the form of cute and colourful stainless steel water bottles -- in a size (and pattern) that works for them. Get stainless steel bottle from $7.99, Shoppers Drug Mart.

  • Stored In Style

    Just stop emailing those documents to yourself and snag a cute USB key -- they're not only in Star Wars version, but Batman and Hello Kitty too. <a href="http://www.staples.ca/ENG/Catalog/cat_sku.asp?CatIds=&webid=322394&affixedcode=WW" target="_hplink">MIMOBOT Star Wars 4GB USB Flash Drive, C-3PO</a>, $9.98, Staples.

  • Box It

    When binders just won't do (and you know the circumstances, like oversized papers and thick packages), these narrow document files are sleek and handy to have around. <a href="http://www.seejanework.com/productcart/pc/Semikolon-Striped-Document-File-150p2942.htm" target="_hplink">Semikolon Striped Document File</a>, $5 each (US), See Jane Work.

  • Locked Up

    It's not quite as simple as a three-digit combination anymore -- these locks in fantastic colours use numbers and letters to create a personalized combo your kid won't forget. <a href="http://www.masterlock.com/product_details/CombinationPadlocks_AssortedColors_Set-Your-OwnCombination_No.1590PrecisionDialCombinationPadlocks/1590D" target="_hplink">Precision Dial Combination Padlocks</a>, $10.95, Master Lock.

  • Peace, Love And Scissors

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  • Bagged Lunch

    Is there an easier way for your kid to find his lunch among all the others than with a monogrammed (and super cute) bag? <a href="http://www.potterybarnkids.com/products/lime-colton-lunch-bag/?pkey=cbts-lunch-bags#" target="_hplink">Lime Colton Lunch Bag</a>, $43, Pottery Barn Kids

  • Bright And Shiny

    It can't all be sophisticated cool for back-to-school -- the little ones need places to put papers too, so where better than these super bright binders, complete with zipper? <a href="http://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/shape-it-up-zipper-binder-15/10142710?trail=&fromPLP=true&ancestorID=&searchString=&startSearch=&fromSearchBox=&addFacet=" target="_hplink">Shape It Up Zipper Binder</a>, $12, Walmart.