Have you ever noticed that your child hangs back whenever he or she comes into a new social situation? Does your child ever seem stressed when introduced to new people? If your child exhibits these or similar behaviors, you might worry about taking him or her to a new daycare.
However, before you decide your child acts too shy for daycare, you should understand that he or she may not actually be shy. Instead, your child might be an introvert.
While introversion might seem negative like shyness or even anti-social behavior, it represents a normal and healthy way to process social interactions. If your child is an introvert, he or she simply needs to feel loved as he or she is. Your child may also need practice making meaningful social connections.
Use our blog to learn more about introversion and get tips to prepare your introverted child for daycare.
What Is Introversion?
Oftentimes, people think of introversion as shyness. If children seem shy or avoid social contact, they often receive the introvert label. However, while many introverts act shy, both introverts and extroverts can be shy. Shyness simply means someone is afraid to interact with people. However, introverts can have complete and fulfilling social lives without any fear.
The Difference Between Extroverts and Introverts
Interaction with people defines only one facet of what separates extroverts and introverts. Other facets, like how they gather emotional energy and find meaning in their social circles, matter more. Introverts gain emotional energy from being alone. They need to process emotions internally. An introvert never truly relaxes until he or she finds solitude in a familiar environment.
Because introverts need alone time to gain energy, they often feel overwhelmed and drained when they experience large groups or new social environment. However, they still want social connection. They usually find it in smaller groups of friends, where they forge strong relationships with a few individuals.
By comparison, extroverts will seek out more social interactions with others because they gain emotional energy from being around more people. As a result, extroverts often have large groups of friends. The difference between extroverts and introverts doesn’t make one better than another. These categories simply predict what types of relationships you can expect your child to have.
How You Can Help Your Child?
While introversion is a natural and healthy trait, your child may not understand that. Without encouragement, an introverted child can easily wonder why he or she doesn’t have as many friends as other people. He or she might try too hard to be social, which leads to emotional exhaustion. Young children need guidance to understand themselves and develop necessary social skills that respect their introversion.
You can provide that guidance by encouraging good social behaviors and helping your child meet his or her emotional needs. Use the following tips to help your child have an enjoyable transition into daycare.
Give Him or Her Alone Time
Your child needs to know it’s ok to have his or her alone time. If he or she seems upset, encourage your child to go play on his or her own. Let him or her recharge.
Talk with His or Her Teacher
Introverts generally need time to process a social situation before they feel comfortable interacting. Bring your child to the daycare to meet the workers before his or her first day. This visit will give your kid the extra time to acclimate to his or her daycare environment.
Create Regular Playdates
Playdates with a few children help your kid learn social skills in a comfortable environment. Let your child associate freely with little interference from you. This association will help him or her develop useful skills and have the confidence to use them with children at daycare.
Practice Social Skills
If your child lacks the confidence to be social at daycare, practice with him or her. Role playing games will help your kid develop strategies in a fun way. Practice introductions and small talk (small talk is particularly challenging for introverts). Keep things low key so your child has fun while interacting.
Share Your Feelings to Help Your Share His or Hers
Introverted children generally want to word answers to questions perfectly. They sometimes feel stress when they don’t have sufficient time to answer a question. So, when you pick your kid up from daycare, tell him or her about your own day or your own interactions before you ask about his or hers. This speech will give your child time to think about his or her daycare experience and give a sincere response.
Your introverted child will enjoy daycare when he or she understands his or her own needs and has the skills to meet them. Use the strategies above to help your child prepare. If you have any other questions, contact your local daycare to learn more about how you can prepare your child for his or her new adventure.