Living in a society mostly geared towards extroverts can make it hard for introverted children to find their place. They don’t thrive on group activities and the hubbub that most after-school activities offer, so you’ll need to devote a bit of time to find an activity they will love and thoroughly enjoy.
Don’t make the mistake of believing your little introvert can just stay at home and enjoy their own company. Spending time outdoors and engaging in different sports has been proven to be beneficial for children’s’ development, so don’t rob your little one of opportunities.
Here are some of the best activities and sports your child can engage in as an introvert:
Swimming: Swimming is an excellent sport to pursue at any age— it helps promote cardiovascular health, increases stamina, and it’s good for improving strength. It also puts much less strain on joints and muscles than other sports, helping improve flexibility and posture. Swimming can also have a positive impact on your child’s emotional and mental health, so encouraging them to take up a swimming class can be a great choice.
As there is not too much interaction with other participants, and the swimmer can enjoy their own thoughts while in the water, this is an ideal activity for your shy youngsters. On the other hand, they will be exposed to the company of children their own age, so some interaction is inevitable. A great way to boost their self-esteem!
Hiking: Hiking can be an excellent way to spend more time together as a family. You can all venture out into nature together, and enjoy the fresh air and the challenge of a hike together.
While there are some things you need to know when going on a hike with children, the exercise itself is very straightforward: just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you’ll get there. Hiking will benefit your mental and physical health, especially as spending time in nature is a fantastic way to de-stress and recharge your batteries. You can start including other families with children on your walks, which will encourage your introvert to make friends naturally.
Athletics: Any athletic discipline is a great choice for developing children, helping them work on their strength, stamina, speed, and enjoy all the benefits any sport can bring to the table. Choose single-player sports, so your child won’t be pushed to cooperate within a team and overcome their shyness in a forced way. They will have the time to socialize in a smaller and more focused group so that they can overcome barriers more naturally.
Before you choose a discipline, you can encourage your child to try several of them—after all, we can’t really spot a talented high-jumper until they tackle their first jump. This can be a fun way to let your child explore new things without having to deal with the awkwardness of their shyness.
Martial arts: Another wholesome mind-body activity that can teach your children a lot about life, any martial art is an excellent way to keep your child active. And it’s not just about learning the movements and learning how to control their bodies—there is a lot of knowledge, history, and philosophy behind each discipline your child can immerse themselves in.
As with athletics, you can try out several different courses and see which might fit your child best. Even though they might all seem similar, the differences between various martial arts are quite significant. Some will emphasize defense while others will focus on attack, so let your child get to know the sport before you sign them up.
An added benefit is that they will learn to defend themselves, which will inarguably contribute to boosting their self-esteem.
Biking or Boarding: Finally, your child might enjoy taking their bicycle or skateboard out for a spin. They can certainly do this alone, but you can also set up group rides or gently guide them in the direction of meeting other likeminded children. You can take them to skate parks or go on a ride together and meet other families.
Not only will you be providing them with a new means of transportation (thus giving them more freedom), but they can also learn a lot about safety and responsibility through these activities. Of course, make sure you teach them how to ride first and gradually help them fit into the larger world of traffic. And don’t get too fussed over the occasional scraped knee or arm—it’s all part of the process.
Encouraging your children to spend more time outdoors and move their bodies is getting increasingly important in this age of screens and digital everything. While our generation was once often left to our own devices with a ball or a jumping rope, our children are not as lucky. Introduce your child to a sport or activity that doesn’t force them to interact with others when they don’t feel like it, but that still allows for making plenty of friends, and watch as they take the next step on their path to adulthood.