As a parent, one of our ultimate goals is to raise a happy and well-rounded child. We do everything we can to shape our little ones to become responsible and successful adults. But what if your little one is an introvert? How do you go about helping an introverted child at school? Part of being a good parent is embracing your child’s quirks and uniqueness. It’s important to understand what it means to be introverted as to know how to better support your child’s needs.
Being an introvert and being shy isn’t the same thing. Introversion is a personality trait. Introverts are happy with having just a few friends not because they’re not comfortable with being part of a larger crowd. They just have their own friendship preferences. And even if they are very self-reliant, they are still capable of building strong and meaningful relationships. Instead of trying to change their personality, we have compiled a few ideas to support your introverted child at school.
Understand that nothing’s wrong with being an introvert
Having an introverted child doesn’t mean there’s something to be worried about, nor is there something to be ashamed of. A significant chunk of the country’s population consists of introverts. Just because your child isn’t as outgoing as other kids, doesn’t mean they’re unusual. It’s normal to want them to have a lot of friends. However, this may not be their preference. It is important that they not feel something is wrong with them.
Slowly introduce them to new people and situations
Because an introvert usually prefers to be alone or be with a small group, they tend to get anxious when surrounded by big groups, especially at school. In order to help your child adjust to the typical classroom setting, go through the process of introducing new people, slowly. Don’t expect them to jump right in and make friends right away with other children. Help set their expectations and let them know what usually happens in a class. Then, make it a point to arrive at their school early. This will give them ample time to get comfortable in the space as other kids start coming in. Let them choose where to sit and stay at a comfortable distance where you can quietly observe. It also helps to introduce them to their teacher and a few classmates.
Encourage them to develop a few friendships
Even introverts are capable of building meaningful relationships, so encourage your child to develop at least one or two friendships while they’re young. Help boost their social skills by practicing at home through imaginative play. Let them use toys like dolls or stuffed animals to roleplay conversations with playmates. Compliment them when they exhibit appropriate behaviors. Then, ask them if they want a few friends over for a playdate.
Remind them of the times they enjoyed being with friends
Positive reinforcement can go a long way. If your child reluctantly attended a party or joined a group activity which they ended up enjoying, be sure to praise them. This is especially important if they were able to make some friends after the event. This is one excellent way to help them regulate their emotions and deal with fear the next time they face a similar situation.
Allow them to take a pause from socializing
Introverts usually don’t have lasting energy to socialize and mingle with people. So, when your child feels a bit overwhelmed by the presence of so many people, let them know it’s okay to excuse themselves. Even when they’re at school, tell them they can go to a quiet place outside or the bathroom if they feel drained or tired. Simply understand that they need some time alone.
Being an introverted child doesn’t mean they’re not happy being around other people. It’s just that they also need adequate time to be on their own. Their social battery isn’t quite as full as extroverts so help your child navigate their school life by being there to support and understand by following these simple tips.
Here at Cornerstone Learning Center, we understand that each child has a unique personality. Therefore, we do our best to help kids ease into navigating things at school like group participation and interaction by choosing the most appropriate approach. Please feel free to contact us for more information.