Some kids grow up and are quiet or shy, while others are sociable and outgoing. These kids who are quiet are often termed the introverted child. The child that never raises their hand in class. The child that doesn’t speak up even though they know the answer. So, how do you get the introverted child to speak up or get involved? According to a recent article by NPR, it requires more awareness from teachers and parents to get those children to blossom. We live in a society that largely focuses on and pays attention to those who are boisterous–even if a quieter person has a better idea.
Engaging the introverted child
Though extroverted, outgoing children get more attention, even though there are just as many introverted children around. This is why it’s important to create a learning environment in which both types of children have the chance to excel. Susan Cain, best-selling author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, says we need to rethink the way our classrooms are designed to do this.
There are certain activities–writing, drawing, etc.–that an introverted child tends to excel at, rather than public speaking or answering questions aloud. All an introverted child needs, is some attention and encouragement to get them to build self-confidence and get comfortable with helpful life-skills, like speaking up when you clearly know the answer or being assertive when you think you have a great idea.
This isn’t just about helping the introverted child, it’s also about helping the extroverted one. Extroverts can be overbearing and speak without thinking, teachers need to help children learn to gain self-control over their skills to be the best they can be. In the article, they discuss a tactic called W-A-I-T. It stands for: “Why Am I Talking?” This is a way for extroverted children to sort through their ideas and be more meaningful in their actions and words.
Helping your child reach success
Not only do things need to change in the classroom, but they need to change at home too. Especially if a child has a more outgoing sibling, it’s important to create activities that incorporate both of their interests–even if you’re personally into one child’s interests more than the other’s.
Though, if your introverted child is seriously struggling in school, it may be due to a larger, underlying issue. In this case, it’s important to reach out to a professional for further guidance on how to best help your child.