The quietest kids are anything but boring!

Introverted children shy away from the spotlight and are easily overlooked, even though they often have the best ideas. How do you know if your child is more introverted and why shyness isn’t a bad thing at all.

Some like to be the center of attention, meet a lot of people and are constantly absorbing new stimuli and impulses from the outside world – recharging their batteries in the process. But there is also the other group: these are the calm, who prefer to be on the sidelines than in the spotlight, and who look more inward than outward. Even in children, you can see these differences: while extroverts get everyone’s attention, introverts are easily overlooked. What does introversion actually mean and what can you do to support your introverted child?

Introverted child? 11 typical properties

About a third of people are introverts. How do you get to know them:

  • Introverts are reserved and calm.
  • Introverts don’t like to be the center of attention.
  • Introverts are less dependent on external stimulation.
  • Introverts quickly feel overwhelmed by the sensory burden and larger groups of people.
  • Introverts get tired or upset easily when there is too much activity.
  • Introverts like to be alone or only talk to one person.
  • Introverts love to withdraw, reflect, and immerse themselves in a project.
  • Introverts often have a specialty they excel in and are passionate about.
  • Introverts are often smarter than average.
  • Introverts are often rated as being very sensitive.
  • However, introverts can also have neurotic traits or sometimes move onto the autism spectrum, for example in the form of Asperger’s syndrome.

Introverted or extroverted: This is often an attitude

For their study of “The Long Shadow of Mood,” Harvard scholars Jerome Kagan and Nancy Sneidman asked themselves whether cautious and calm children also grow into cautious and calm adults. If children react and react to the smallest stimuli quickly and easily with excessive demands, they usually retain this reaction pattern for the rest of their lives – and become introverted. Researchers have found that children who have a higher tolerance for noise and other stimuli and who are not easily disturbed by their surroundings are more likely to develop into extroverted adults.

Shy doesn’t equal an introvert

Shyness is a trait that is often viewed critically and as something to overcome. Since introverted children are often calmer and more reserved, they are often mistaken for shyness. This could be the case, but it doesn’t have to be. In a smaller group or under the right conditions, they can outdo themselves and present their results with confidence in school, for example.

By the way, extroverted kids can also be shy: they may want to be part of a big group, but they don’t necessarily want to be the center of attention themselves. And while they like to absorb new stimuli and impressions, they may interact less boisterously with their surroundings.

By the way, very few people are 100% introverted or extroverted. Often, one of these characteristics prevails, but the other is also present to some extent. This results in an infinite number of mixed shapes.

The world (too) needs introverts

In times of social media and celebrity cults, open-minded self-promoters often have an advantage. Putting yourself, your merits and your accomplishments in the right light is also a requirement in the modern world of work.

Some of the most successful companies have been created by introverted “nerds” such as Apple founder Steve Jobs and Microsoft President Bill Gates; Creative visionaries like Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Elon Musk (Tesla) are often considered introverts. They like to tinker patiently until they solve a problem that others haven’t seen. Many introverts can also be found among poets, thinkers, artists, and musicians.

Of course, not every introvert is a genius – but with their different approach, they have a valuable contribution to this world. Don’t cross them off because they are quieter, but pay more attention to their softer undertones.

Why introverted children have a more difficult time in school

Introverted students are often less active in class and tend to be quieter participants, even in group work. They usually pay attention and have ideas worth listening to, but are shy about participating in class discussions.

Introverts sometimes have their problems with modern forms of teaching in particular: teamwork and interaction are not always their thing, and many prefer traditional front-end teaching in addition to homework, preparation and follow-up work at home. Exam situations like class exams or oral exams that you can prepare for are the most important thing.

It is important that teachers assess your child correctly and not label them as disinterested or less intelligent, and not try to pressure them to open up. It can be helpful to talk to the class teacher to find out how your child is doing in school and to let the teachers know what makes your child decide.

If your child is an introvert, he may have a hard time making friends. It seeks exchanges with like-minded people, but does not necessarily feel comfortable in vital groups. A good friend is enough for them, because they also need a lot of time for themselves. However, doing so can make your child look or feel like a stranger. As long as they have an ally or confidant in the class, it is often enough to prevent them from being completely isolated from society.

School days are often not easy for introverts – many thrive only when they can create an environment that works best for them, for example at university or at work, and when they feel liberated from peer pressure and the expectations of class society. The school years can be a balancing act that you must support your child empathetically with.

Introverted kids often shine in the dark

Parents in particular, who are not overly introverted, sometimes struggle with their children’s quiet qualities. They fear that their offspring will miss opportunities due to their indecision and not living up to their potential. Introverts can achieve extraordinary things if you accept and value their characteristics and give them an environment that meets their needs. It is important that you see them – like everyone else – and accept them for who they are.

Is your child very introverted and also reacts very sensitively to external stimuli? Then you may be very sensitive. Here’s how to tell if this applies to your child:

Is my child hypersensitive?

Books open worlds and show children that anything is possible. We recommend our favorite children’s books:

Image Credit: Getty Images / shironosov

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