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Close up of a child drawing by herself in a classroom of kids

My Introverted Child

My daughter has always been the kind of kid who marches to the beat of her own drum. As a preschooler, while all her friends wanted to dress up as princesses, she happily sailed her own ship as a pirate girl. You will often find her on her own, making witty comics. If given the choice to go to the movies or stay home in her pajamas, hands down, she'll choose the PJs.

Another parent recently asked me if she is shy.

I’ll admit I used to wonder if she struggled with social anxiety or was shy. Her teachers at school have always reassured me that she gets along well with her peers and is social. When I ask her if she feels lonely, she always says, "no."

What I've come to realize is she is not a loner or suffering from social anxiety, she's just an introvert.

Introverts and extroverts have their own strengths. Being introverted is not indicative of loneliness. The biggest difference between the two is that an introvert gets their energy from spending time alone, and they need time alone to recharge.

Extroverts, on the flip side, seek stimulation from the outside and prefer to be with others. Being with others energizes them.

How do you know if your child is an introvert? While every child is different, here are some characteristics of an introverted child:

  • They have a blast hanging with friends, but socializing zaps their energy.
  • The need time alone to recharge.
  • Noise, crowds, and too many distractions at once may cause them stress.
  • They are creative, introspective, and enjoy quiet activities such as drawing, writing, Legos, and video games.
  • They are fun and lively at home but quiet or reserved in a social setting.
  • Their light shines in a small group setting.

Do any of these characteristics sound familiar? Being the parent of an introvert in an extroverted world has its challenges. But, it can also be a gift if you allow them the space and freedom to be who they are.

For information on brain development and the “shy” child, check out Dan Siegel’s video.

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About Adrianna and Ryan Walden

About Adrianna and Ryan  Walden Ryan and Adrianna Walden have been married for 14 years. The two met when she was working for an arena football team in Norfolk where he was playing football. Ryan is a service coordinator with the Chesapeake Early Intervention Program and Adrianna is a Licensing Specialist for Children's Programs. Both have enjoyed teaching CHKD’s "Happiest Baby" class together for the past eight years. Together they have one daughter, who despite early health issues, is now a thriving and happy school-age child. The Walden's also lead a weekly community group through their church for married couples and their children.