As you continue to do everything you can to be the best parent you can be for your child, it can be a little frustrating when you see that they’re introverted. This isn’t because introversion is a bad thing. It’s just that most parents want their children to make good friends and be sociable with people. These abilities are still doable as an introvert. You’ve just got to be intentional about showing your toddler how to manage social situations without running away to hide. If your toddler is struggling to be social, consider trying these four different avenues.
1. Play Dates
If you have friends who have toddlers, try to set up a few playdates. Play dates allow the children time to connect with one another and play. Bring a few toys and snacks. You could invite the other parent and toddler to your home or you could go to their home. If that seems like too much, it could also be a nice idea to find a middle ground. If both toddlers enjoy the playground, consider taking them. During the colder months, there are lots of indoor jungle gyms that are specifically for toddlers and young children. Schedule play dates with different children so that your toddler can meet a variety of people and get comfortable with around others.
2. Familial Interactions
In a lot of cases, most toddlers become more comfortable once there is a level of consistency. Some toddlers will say hi to everyone they see while they’re riding in their stroller. Introverted toddlers don’t do this and that’s okay. Invite your family members to the house often. Once a toddler sees a person on a consistent basis, they’ll understand that things are safe and they can open up. For those who don’t have a strong family base that’s local, work on developing this relationship with close friends that can love your toddler and help them through their introversion.
3. Extra-curricular Activities
Extra-curricular activities are lots of fun and can range from toddler swim lessons to tumbling classes. For the sake of the teacher and your toddler, it’s probably a good idea to stay in the classroom and help them out as needed. After they’ve reached a level of comfort with the situation, try your best to let them use their wings and be a little more independent. If the teacher requires parents to be a part of the class, follow instructions. Remember that these activities will help them develop the skill set they’re studying. At the same time, it’s a perfect place for them to learn to interact and get to know others.
4. Comfort Zones
Always remember that you’re dealing with a toddler and you don’t need to push them off the branch like a mama bird. Do your best to facilitate a comfort zone for your child. Find out what they tend to gravitate towards and the hobbies they really enjoy. If they like hanging out with a specific friend, try to schedule more play dates with that friend. When you develop a comfort zone and allow them to thrive in it, they’ll eventually get to a point when they’re ready to move to the next phase. Be patient and give them space to grow.
It’s important to appreciate and understand that your child may always be an introvert. Introverts are still great contributors to society and live in community with other people. However, there is a balance of respecting their need for space and interaction with others. As a parent, your job is to respect that need for alone time to recharge, yet gently pull them out of their own shell to meet others. The more they get into environments that respect their differences as an introvert, the more likely your child will be willing to try new things with new friends and feel good about it all.