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    Parenting, Tips and Tricks

    Parenting an Introverted Child

    Austin is three years old and every single day he lights up the world around him. He’s adventurous and loving, kind and patient. He is funny and silly. He is everything I ever imagined he would be. I’m obviously biased, but I can tell you that this kid is going places. 

    Then the inevitable happens. He gets invited to a Birthday party. Sure we will go, he will have fun won’t he? We hop in the car to drive over and the whole way he talks about singing happy birthday, eating cake, playing with his friends. His excitement grows and grows till we swing open the door and then … crickets. He can’t get the words out. He won’t say happy birthday, he won’t play, and most importantly he won’t talk to his friends. 

    My child has become the one that is overwhelmed by the distraction around him, overwhelmed by the other kids, too nervous to talk and most importantly he has trouble making friends. 

    How can Austin be two incredibly different people and why is it so hard fo him to open up and be the adventurous person he is? This year it became more evident than ever that I have an introvert as a child and I am realizing that we need to teach him ways to foster relationships and to grow his personality.  The problem is… I am also an introvert, I cringe at social situations, my palms sweat when speaking in front of large groups, I shake at the thought of having to go somewhere alone without my support. So how can I, a fellow introvert teach another to let go of fear? 

    I’m learning to let go of the anxiety that comes with being social and to let go of the need for every social setting to be comfortable. I am also 30 years old and I can’t wait another 27 years for my son to be comfortable. So this is my list of how to raise an introvert and how to foster their relationships without overstepping. That’s a big one, I will never beg other kids to play with mine or beg Austin to go be a part of a group, but what I can do is encourage him and give him the tools he needs to be successful. So if you are in the same boat as Austin or I and need some help with social situations check out our 8 tips on parenting an introverted child.  

    • Let them  make the decision: I will not force my son to do anything he doesn’t want to do to. I will never ask him to go to party he doesn’t want to attend. When he asks to go somewhere social I do my best to make it happen.
    • Allow for multiple social opportunities throughout the week. Don’t stay home and become a hermit. Allow your little one the opportunity to grow relationship with friends and others around them.  Simply being around others will allow for these opportunities. 
    • Sometimes silence is bonding. Playing side by side is equally as important as the interaction between two. 
    • Be repetitive, simple words such as please and thank you can lead into a conversation so remind him to use his/her manners ALL the time. Not just at home.
    • Lead by example. I continually try to put myself out there and be social. I want my son to see me taking chances, making friends and being social so he too will see that it is worth the risk of putting yourself out there.
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      Give him other tools to communicate, this is one we didn’t do and I wish we had! Teaching sign language early on can give them the tools they need to become better communicators. 
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      Practice makes perfect - have practice conversations at home of what they can talk about with their friends. Talk about the day, the weather, their top favorite toys, anything that can cause interest and excitement. 
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      Praise your child when they take a social risk - Talk about what they did, how they did it and tell them that it was wonderful. Taking risks are hard but when they hear what a good job they did, then they may be more inclined to take another! 

    The most important thing about an introvert is that it is simply biology.  An introvert personality can't be outgrown or changed.  The more you understand the more you can find ways to create a safe, happy, and encouraging environment! There are some wonderful books out there about ways to guide your child into social situations and to teach them how to use their voice. Check out my top favorite parenting and children books below!