Children, by nature, are playful, loud, sociable and very active but you may find that your child is a bit different. Maybe she needs a lot of down time, doesn’t participate a lot at school, spends a lot of time alone, and only has a very small circle of friends. Do you feel confused as a parent? Relax, she might simply be introverted.
Being introverted is not a choice but a real personality trait, it is down to biology. Introverts are perfectly normal children, they simply interact with people differently and draw energy from alone-time rather than socialising.
What are the signs your child is introverted?
- They might throw tantrums easily after a busy day: introverted children can be easily over- stimulated, their brains are wired to pick up more stimuli on their environment. This gives them fantastic awareness of their surroundings but it also means they will get tired much quicker when around people.
- They have rich inner lives and high empathy levels: they have complex and deep thought processes, can be extremely creative, and they tend to be very empathic.
- They might prefer to play alone: solitude comes easily to introverts, especially in new environments. They might take a little longer than other children to adapt.
- They might do a lot of self-talk: they might talk a lot to their toys and express their feelings and thoughts to them. They need a private space where they can process all their thoughts and feelings.
- They might struggle in group settings: introverts thrive in solitude. They might struggle with the current school set up in which they have to interact with others for 7-8 hours per day. During their early years introverts do better at home and they tend to adapt better to groups as they grow older.
- They make decisions based on their own values: their world is naturally drawn inwards. They are not crowd-followers which makes them less likely to be affected by peer pressure.
How can you help your introverted child?
- Ensure you don’t overload them with activities: Allow them time to wind down and be with their feelings and emotions.
- Honour their temperament: help them to understand why they are tired and cranky after socialising.
- Talk to their teachers about their introversion: help them to understand your child.
- Encourage your child to take time out from socialising: it is good for them to know that it’s ok to take some time for themselves.
- Make sure they feel heard: it is easy for introverts to feel unheard, speak with them and teach them to express themselves.
- Don’t label you’re your child as shy: introversion is a personality trait, shyness is based on insecurity and they are very different things. An introverted child can still be confident and self-assured.
- Don’t worry if they don’t have many friends: they prefer quality over quantity and they thrive better in one to one interactions.
- Teach them to stand up for themselves: help them to say “stop” and “no” particularly in schools situations in which she might be feeling overwhelmed by others.
- Help your child to develop their passions: introverts can excel at what they do if they are given the right support, they might be interested in science, maths, cosmology, or spirituality rather than in being involved in large group activities.