My five-year-old daughter is an extreme extrovert. She is just like her Daddy, can make friends and carry on a conversation with anyone. I love this about her (and my husband) but here’s the thing…
I’m an introvert. I struggled when she was two and three years old and we would have to stop no less than 5 times in the grocery store to tell our life story to random grocery shoppers in every aisle. It has honestly taken me some time to figure out how to parent my extroverted child who craves much more social interaction than I desire for myself. I love people and I like to go out and see friends and family but I also like days spent at home with no agenda where I can regroup.
Now my general rule of thumb is that I plan one or two days a week to be at home where we can do activities together and just have slower days. I crave this balance as opposed to a go, go, go lifestyle.
Sending my daughter to preschool at 3 years old and now doing preschool four days a week is huge for her. She loves school and she loves that social interaction school provides. At her age, we have tried to limit our extra-curricular activities until she finds what she is really into. Right now, she takes ballet one evening a week and is playing soccer for the first time this spring. These have given her a great outlet to meet new people and have social time with her peers, which are her favorite things to do!
One thing I really have struggled with recently is having the conversation about strangers and what are and are not appropriate interactions. I never want to diminish her love of people and her natural ability to make friends, however, I do want to keep her safe. We have talked about how most people are good but there are some people that make bad choices and can do bad things. We have had to work on learning things like asking before going somewhere, staying within view at parks and other public places, and of course, never going anywhere with someone you don’t know. Two of the books I used to help start this conversation are The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers and Once Upon a Dragon: Stranger Safety for Kids (and Dragons).
I continue to learn from my friendly girl and I think she is probably making me more extroverted (although I don’t think I’ll ever lose my naturally introverted self). I am trying to embrace finding the balance for both of us in our daily rhythms. And, if you would ever like to know our life story, my daughter would be happy to tell you in the aisles of Kroger!
Are you an introvert parenting an extroverted child? I’d love to know how you find the balance to keep everyone happy!