Introverted children have a lot to offer; they are often passionate, creative and deep-thinking, bringing a different type of social dynamic and energy both at home and school. An introverted child might be frequently is characterized as being shy, but they are simply interacting in a more reserved, careful manner. This could lead to social difficulties in schools that tend to more often cater to the extroverted child. Understanding how to help an introverted child thrive begins with fostering a deeper understanding of introversion and what it means.
What is an Introvert?
Contrary to extroverts who rely on dopamine-based energy patterns, action-based learning and active, chatty communications, introverts tend to approach everything with a more reserved energy pattern. They tend to enjoy solitude to renew themselves at the end of the day and usually think first and speak second; learning best through quietly watching or contemplating. Does this sound like your child? Here’s what you can do.
Talk About Emotions
Introverted children might often be less likely to express their emotions or even speak about them at all. If you’re an extrovert who’s used to being open emotionally, it can be difficult to understand what to do. Teach your child to speak about their emotions from a young age; even if they are less expressive of them, they definitely feel them. You might want to use ‘emotion’ cards with your child to assist them in learning how to effectively express their feelings.
Encourage Some Close Friendships
With schools designed to cater more for extroverted children, it can be all too easy for the introverted child to get left behind when it comes to making friends. Help them do this by encouraging them to develop social skills through their own imaginative play; listen to the stories that they create and compliment any appropriate behavior, even if it’s how they talk to their toys. Find toys for them that they can relate to; these cute anime characters are often available for pre-order online and can be great for children who already love the characters from TV. Create a safe space at home for your child to invite any friends over and spend time together to strengthen the relationship.
Encourage Creative Problem-Solving
Demonstrate and practice good ways to resolve uncomfortable social situations with your children. This is a good thing to practice during the beginning of a new year. Talk about making new friends, what to do if there’s a disagreement with friends, or what to do if someone misunderstands you. You could even turn it into a fun role-playing game.
Respect Their Need for Solitude
Many extroverted parents do not understand their introverted child’s need to spend some time on their own. But just how extroverts tend to feel more refreshed and energized after spending quality time with other people, introverts feel this way after being alone for a while. Teach your child about their need for these calm moments of alone time and how to get it. You might find that your child enjoys spending time reading or playing solo computer games; these are both favorite activities of many introverts. Help your child figure out what works best for them and how they can grab a few moments of peace during the school day if they need it; like going to the library. Teaching your child about their introversion and what it means will be helpful if they are surrounded by extroverted peers; many introverted children will wonder if there is something wrong with them, so reassure them that this is not the case. Encourage them to speak with other children about it; they may have more introverted friends than they realize.