Introverted Children are very different from Introverted Adults, they’re learning about themselves, becoming frustrated and confused by other children around them and the way adults speak and interact with them. They wont quite understand their ‘version, and most likely won’t until they reach adulthood, so it is important that we encourage them from a young age to ensure them that the way they feel and act is not wrong and help them to flourish without a loud mouth.
Disclosure: EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT, these are just tips based on my own experience of my own introversion and introverted children around me.
The all-fringe-and-freckles girl above is me, I was an introverted child, I loved to read and write, explore my garden, but I also loved to sing and act on stage. I was rubbish at talking to adults, I hated meeting new grown ups, they often found me rude because I wouldn’t say thank you after they dropped me home or had me over to their home. It was never that I wasn’t thankful, I was nervous to speak, to initiate conversation, to sound silly or say it wrong. Needless to say my mum drilled politeness into me and it was something I learned to do.
It can be hard to interact with introverted children, especially if as an adult you’re extroverted yourself. So how can you help?
- Do engage with them. Ask questions, encourage them to elaborate on their thoughts and feelings.
- Do try an Introvert/Extrovert quiz with your students/children/family and explain how each may think and act, there’s nothing wrong with understanding yourself and others a little better, no matter your age!
- Do discover their interests, their hobbies, the things they enjoy doing and then focus on it. Ask them how their hobby is developing and praise them for it.
- Do encourage them to discuss their interests with other children, this allows them to have a chance of running a conversation.
- Do let them have their down time. If they’ve had a busy day make sure they have time to relax at points during the day, or after.
- Do find outlets for their creativity, give them the tools and the oppurtunity to let their words out through their fingers, through song, through drama, through whatever medium they enjoy.
- Do offer them the ‘why’ to instructions you give them, they will want to know and knowing why will stop them wondering and allow them to concentrate on the task.
- Don’t think about what you can do to get them to be more like the more extroverted children around them. They will never be the same as them. That isn’t to say they won’t present the same energy, participation or confidence but they will do it in a different way.
- Don’t force them into situations that they have expressed being uncomfortable with.
- Don’t push them in times of conflict. Introverts can hold a grudge and brew anger like no one’s business. Don’t assume and don’t tell them their own emotions, ask them how they feel, if they don’t want to talk, don’t force them. But make sure you come back to it later on, closure is key, don’t let them brew in their own heads too long.
- Don’t call them OR assume they are shy or quiet, that is not for you to decide, just because they don’t scream and shout like other children it does not mean they’re shy, they’re thinking a different way, processing information differently. Give them the right outlet? They’ll shout above you all.
- Don’t force them to make decisions, there is a lot of going through their minds as they wont just blurt out an answer, give them options.
Thanks for reading! This is the last in my Introversion 101 series for now but I may revisit later on so stay tuned!
Check out the rest of my Introversion 101 series!
- Introversion 101: How To Handle Extroverts
- Introversion 101: Self Awareness
- Introversion 101: Don’t Forget Why You’re Great
- My Disappearing Act
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