How to Connect With Your Introverted Child

A mother plays with her introverted child

Making space for silence is just as important as making space for talking.

When you’re a parent, finding free time for yourself can feel like a luxury (and even more so if you’re an introvert). Work and cooking might keep you busy during the week, while laundry and cleaning might keep you busy on the weekends. So, it’s easy to push “spend time with the kids” down your to-do list. And if your child is an introvert, you may think they’re fine on their own — but not always. 

When you make time for your kids, you give them a space where they are heard, valued, and understood. The little moments you share with them may seem insignificant to you, but to kids, they can be like healing sessions where they connect deeper with themselves and feel more comfortable in their skin. 

Spending time with your kids doesn’t have to feel like a chore. It can simply mean offering your children your undivided attention. (No, you don’t have to do something overstimulating, like playing at a busy park or going to Disneyland.)

Here are five simple strategies to connect with your introverted child.   

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5 Ways to Connect With Your Introverted Child

1. Schedule regular one-on-one time with them.

This is one of the best ways to spend quality time with them. When you have a solid routine in place, you are more likely to remember to make time for your family. In turn, it helps your kids develop a sense of predictability. They realize that you value them, and this boosts their self-worth and confidence.   

Introverted children may be quite different from extroverted ones, as they prefer an environment that is calm. Plus, they don’t need someone to constantly talk to. Your mere presence can make them feel safe and secure. 

And being present for your kids doesn’t have to be energy-draining, either. You can choose low-energy, introvert-friendly activities, like going to the park every Friday, watching a movie every Saturday, and visiting the bookstore on Sunday. It really can be that simple!

Speaking of keeping it simple, here’s how not to overschedule your introverted child.  

2. Ask open-ended questions.

As an introverted adult, I hate having to make lots of small talk. So, you can imagine how much an introverted child — who doesn’t fully understand social expectations yet — would feel about it. Framing your questions well is important. 

If you ask them, “How was your day?” or “Did you enjoy playing in the park?” they might ignore you or give one-word replies. You see, such questions don’t stimulate their minds. Instead, try asking open-ended questions. 

If it was Library Day at school, you might ask them about the books they chose — and why. The more specific your question, the more likely your child will give a genuine answer. Plus, these questions will also make them feel you truly care. 

Here are some more ways to turn small talk into meaningful, interesting conversation.

3. Respect their need for solitude and space.

Many introverts need a lot of personal space. It can be one of the reasons we can’t tolerate staying at social events too long. In introverted children, this need for space might manifest as withdrawing from others or keeping their bedroom door closed.

So, when you are having one-on-one time with your kids, you might try being in the same room as them without interfering in their activities. The point is not to overstimulate them. They may be playing a video game, for instance, while you catch up on your latest novel. Or maybe both of you are reading. Or you can teach them how to create an “introvert zen zone.”

If you are an extroverted parent who doesn’t know how to connect with your introverted child, it’s natural to wonder if your child is depressed. (Hopefully the answer is no.)

When you start to engage in one-on-one time with your introverted child, you will begin to understand their body language and behavior. Over time, it’ll become easier to figure out when your child needs time to themselves.

4. Listen actively, and never force them to talk.

As introverts, we may not open up in busy social settings — and when we do, we might get talked-over or interrupted. As a result, you may unknowingly do this to your introverted child. 

So, when you ask them about their day, don’t just do so for the sake of it. Rather, give them time to explain their thoughts and emotions. Introverts may need a little extra time to think about your question and respond to it.

Quick side note: Whenever your child is expressing their feelings, let them do it on their own. You can help them a little here and there when they get stuck with words, but generally, don’t interrupt and try to explain their thoughts for them. Don’t rush the conversation either, as it can be a huge turn-off for them, and they may avoid opening up in the future. 

(Here are some more things you should never do to an introverted child.)

The more you show interest in the conversation with your introverted children, the more they will feel heard and loved.

5. Be patient and allow for silence.

Introverts recharge with silence. As a parent of introverted kids, it’s essential to enjoy their silent moments, too. When you do so, you avoid imposing societal standards (which often favor the extroverts) on your children and make them feel at ease with who they are. And, you create a safe space for them to express themselves at their own pace.

This paves the way for a relationship built on trust and understanding. Your introverted child will feel valued for who they are instead of feeling pressure to conform to extroverted expectations. Plus, the silences can help your bond flourish, and you’ll develop more respect for each other, despite your individual differences.   

Making space for silences means you make space for non-verbal cues, like a hug or reassuring smile. It adds depth to the conversation and reinforces the sense of security within the child. Not to mention, it helps children develop emotional intelligence.   

So, my fellow parents, how often do you make time to connect with your introverted child? What are the strategies that you use? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

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