Use My Voice

Speaking up about the issues I can't get out of my head or heart.

Your Introverted Child and The Holiday Season

on December 3, 2013

I am an extrovert….just barely. I mean it, I score usually about 10% higher on any extrovert /introvert scale. I come from a family of introverts and most all of my close friends are introverts. In fact my husband is the only extrovert I can think of that I have ever had a really close relationship with . So in my years of having close relationships with introverts I have learned a few things. Which is good because I have known for a long time that my oldest child is an introvert but now I’m beginning to realize my middle one is too (the youngest well she’s ALL extrovert) .

So how is it I am beginning to realize my middle one is more introverted than I thought? I began to realize it last year when he would come home from kindergarten and go to his room to play by himself for an hour or so everyday.  At first I was really bothered, didn’t he want to be with us? I mean he was gone all day (I’m the extrovert remember?). Then after awhile he would come out of his room happy and ready to be with us, he needed to recharge. This past week was Thanksgiving. Which meant family all day one day, going to see Santa and a tree lighting the next, then the next day getting our tree and then… his birthday party.  His party was at the bowling alley and I think he might have bowled a grand total of 5 frames. He was very content to sit back watch everyone and just hang out. He talked to people. He was  thrilled with his presents and because even though he’s an introvert he is a serious ham he even pretended to pass out from excitement. He just had no interest in being in with all the action. He loved his party, in his own introverted way. As an extrovert I would have liked to him to be out more. I worried he wasn’t being outgoing enough or having fun. Later though as I thought about all of the other introverts in my life I realized that was exactly how they would have acted.

A couple of things to keep in mind about introverts:

  • They aren’t always quiet (nobody has ever called my kids quiet)
  • They highly value close realtionships
  • They want to be listened to
  • They can get people and stimulation overload quickly
  • They need to recharge by themselves

For all people the holiday season can be stressful. For introverts the holiday season can be one giant anxiety attack waiting to happen. People, parties, company, shopping. school plays..oh yes and the normal day to day life that must still be lived.  So how do you help your introverted child through this crazy season? Here are a few thoughts:

  • What do they HAVE to go to?  There are some things they are going to have to do and some that they will really want to do. Pick those things and skip the rest. Get a babysitter if you have more events than your child can handle. Just remember as you are scheduling all of the special event that things like school, church, and other activities are still going on.
  • Let them have an escape.  It is ok to allow your child to bring a book or a device with them to most events.  Now, obviously you don’t want your child stuck in a book or on a game all night so agree before you go on when they can have it and for how long. Also, help coach them on how to respond when someone tries to interact with them when they are “escaping”.
  • Find them a quiet space. This goes with the one above but when you get somewhere help them find a place that is good for them to have a little quiet space. It doesn’t have to be a room to themselves it can be a chair in a corner or just a spot out of the way.
  • Let them bring a friend.  Introverts often feel awkward in a crowd. They don’t like to mingle on their own or walk up to a group and ask if they can join in. Sometimes having a buddy with them can make them feel more comfortable.
  • Most importantly….let them recharge. The biggest thing I have learned is that introverts must recharge by themselves. When you get home give them some space. This can be tricky if your introverts share a room like mine do but find a way to give them some space. My oldest will go out and jump on the trampoline when he needs to recharge. My middle one will sit on is bed with books or Legos . However they recharge give them their space to do it.

How do you help the introvert in your life cope with the holiday season?

Also, on a holiday note we have a two part “Why Wednesday” coming up one form me on  why my family “does” Santa and one from a good friend on why her family does not.

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