Parenting any kiddo is tough. But when you’re an introvert parent raising an extrovert kid, it can be especially challenging. The good news is there are lots of ways you can be a great parent to your outgoing kid, even if your inclination is to enjoy quiet time or be alone. To help you be the best parent you can be, scroll down to find 10 ways to deal with an extrovert child, even when you are a total introvert.
1. Find playgroups and classes. This is a great way to ensure your little extrovert gets the external stimulation she craves, while you are not burdened with providing it. Even if you stay at the class, find a comfy chair and bring a book to read while your little one interacts with kids.
2. Call for reinforcements (especially from fellow extroverts). It’s okay to ask for help, especially assistance from an extroverted relative or a babysitter. If grandma is an extrovert, she’d love nothing more than to spend quality time with her equally extroverted grandchild.
3. Explain that you need some quiet space. Tell your little one that mommy needs some quiet time so her brain can recharge. Making your extrovert entertain himself for a set period of time will actually help him develop necessary skills as life goes on. Remember that you’ll be a better parent if your needs are met too.
4. Plan time for quality interaction. It’s overwhelming for an introvert to think about playing non-stop. Planning blocks of time for that interaction makes the task seem a bit more doable. Commit to spending one hour in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon having a pretend tea party, playing a board game, or going for a walk. This gives your little extrovert quality togetherness while giving your introvert brain a plan and an end time.
5. Beat extrovert boredom through activities that engage. An introvert may have no trouble beating boredom with a book or solo activity. But an extrovert? Not so much! So the next time your extrovert kiddo says she has nothing to do, encourage her to put on a living room performance or create a puppet show for the family.
6. Open play spaces are your friend. Parks, indoor play spaces and open play times are a very helpful tool for introvert parents raising extrovert kids. Your kiddo will love interacting with other kids and the stimulation that comes with those venues. This allows you to sit back and observe rather than being an active participant.
7. Look for activities that encourage drama. Sometimes the nature of being an extrovert lends itself to being a bit on the dramatic side. After all, expressing emotions outwardly is part of the external stimulation. Find a way to channel the emotion by enrolling in drama, music or singing classes.
8. Befriend another introvert parent. Finding a fellow introvert will give you the chance to talk about your parenting struggles with someone who feels the same way. You can also help each other take turns watching the kids while giving the other some recharge time.
9. When it comes to homework, find the right learning tools. Because extroverts are energized by their external surroundings, many learn best from talking aloud or experiential learning. If that describes your extroverted student, look for songs she can listen to that reinforce addition and subtraction facts, or have her tell you about the activity she’s learning.
10. Don’t feel guilty. This is probably the toughest thing to do. But know that it’s okay to feel like you don’t want to interact with your kid. You’re not a bad parent. You’re just an introvert that needs some alone time.
Are you an introvert parent raising an extrovert child? Or are you an extrovert parent raising an introvert kid? Tell us your parenting tips!
— Leah R. Singer