I never considered myself an extrovert or introvert. I always felt like I was somewhere in the middle. My husband, on the other hand, is an introvert. He is perfectly content to just be by himself, although he can be very chatty in social situations. Somehow the two of us have managed to produce an extremely extroverted child.
Her need for social interaction coupled with her being an only child often leaves us feeling drained and in desperate need of some alone time. We are learning some tips for raising an extroverted child when you’re an introverted parent.
Master the Art of Doing Nothing
There is a beauty in doing nothing. To be alone in silence. Introverts understand and enjoy this, maybe to a fault. Extroverts thrive on being around people, and your little extrovert is no exception. It is essential to set aside some downtime. Not only for yourself (because you need it) but also for your child. They need to learn when it’s time to recharge their body and their soul. Learning to be still can help decrease stress and anxiety.
If you go go go so much that you deplete yourself, you’re likely to turn into Teka when really on the inside you are Te Fiti (any Moana fans out there). If you’re in a bad mood, there’s a good chance that your child will pick up on that. Your child may start to internalize this as something they did was wrong. Explain to your child the importance of recharging their batteries and turn it into a positive experience for them. This will also allow them to reflect on their feelings and experiences while teaching them the art and beauty of doing nothing.
Let’s Be Social-ish
While we do need to teach kids downtime, it is as equally important to feed their extroverted souls by providing opportunities for social interactions.
However, that doesn’t mean your home has to become the go-to spot for all the kids. Start by scheduling small meet-ups or play dates with family and friends in your circle. Maybe once that is comfortable host some playdates at your house or even throw a little party. Be sure to take your little social butterfly to new places so that they can meet new people. Who knows, maybe you will make a new Mama friend or two as well.
Getting out of the house can provide just the right amount of social interaction for your extrovert while also keeping your personal space a quiet sanctuary. Balance is key. So be a little social-ish. Everyone will benefit.
School and Your Extroverted Child
I am just going to break it to you. If you have an extrovert, you are probably going to have an itty bitty problem with the school environment. You might hear things like a social butterfly, loves to talk, extremely friendly. Meeting the needs of your extroverted child in the classroom can be a little challenging. While kids do need to learn to adapt to their environment and in the case of school, that is the classroom, you will want to make sure the environment is ready for them. Chat with the teacher about what a typical day looks like. Are there plenty of opportunities for them to work in groups? Will they be expected to sit at their desk most of the class period? These are great questions to ask to help prepare your child.
The best thing you can do for your child is to get them involved in extracurricular activities, preferably involving groups of people or clubs. This is something they should already be interested in. These types of events are an excellent way for them to socialize and build relationships with like-minded people, as well as learn valuable skills. Discuss what activities your child is interested in – whether it be sports, the chess team or the drama club, and get them involved in as many as you and they can comfortably manage.
As an introverted parent, an extroverted child can sometimes seem like quite a handful. But, even if you aren’t excited about expressing your feelings or meeting new people, it’s essential that your kid gets the chance to do so. Every opportunity that you give them to interact with people is going to help them develop their social skills. It may even allow them to make a new friend or two.
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