If you have a child that seems a little withdrawn or shy they may perhaps have an introverted personality. This is perfectly normal even if parents seem a little extroverted.
An introverted child may not necessarily be shy, they can in fact be very social, provided they have time to recharge and process the events they may be attending. One defining characteristic seems to be that they can feel tired or even overwhelmed when at social events, especially when there are many people they are not familiar with in attendance and there is a lot of noise and movement.
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These children often interact well with one or two other children while with a large group they become overwhelmed and withdrawn. When you do have a child with this type of personality it is wise to acknowledge that and not label them as shy, because often they are not. Those children that are labelled as shy often become more withdrawn due to this label believing this is who and what they are.
When you do have an introverted child, attempt to introduce them to large events or crowds slowly. Let them know what they may expect, allow them to remain close to you until such time they feel comfortable moving away or to play with others. This may not occur however so acknowledge they are there, reassure them it is fine for them to remain and nothing is wrong with them, they just process at a more leisurely rate.
If you are able to find a child for them to play with one on one, this usually assists, even if this means they may need to remain reasonably close to you. Reassurance is the key to support these children to feel comfortable and safe with others.
We all process at our own level and the most important thing is to accept your child’s processing speed and not push them too fast. Over insistence may make them retreat further. They need to feel safe, develop confidence, to feel accepted.
When we try to tell out child they should play with others, ask them why they don’t or can’t, it can place considerable pressure on an already uneasy child. Our role as a parent is to provide that safe environment for our child to develop and grow feeling safe, secure and comfortable.
Be mindful of your child and what they need from you. Once they progress and grow they often start to develop more confidence and ability to integrate easier. Set by example how to communicate, keeping your relationships smooth and balanced. Your child will learn that playing and mixing with others is safe and they will step forward and participate easier.
To help them integrate easier:
Try to have them play one on one
Have them in an environment that is not excessively busy or noisy
Keep them close to you so they can easily see you
Praise them for each small step they take
Discuss the reason they may feel uncomfortable and ask them what they need from you to help them feel more comfortable.
Slowly does it will win the race for an introverted child.
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