Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Six Ways to Nurture Introverted Children

In my last blog post, I discussed the importance of recognizing personality styles.  I believe that understanding and celebrating the different personality blends is key to working with children. Recently there has been renewed interest and research on the quiet or introverted personality. Referred to as the 'S' personality style in the DISC profile, they can be described as shy, reserved and reluctant to move outside of the status quo. They have lots of wonderful qualities including: sweet, steady, stable and supportive. They are people pleasers with a servant's heart, who often consider others and their needs first. 'S' type children are delightful to be around and if you have one in your family or your classroom, you are blessed. They are highly motivated to perform and please the adults around them. They are the students who draw a picture or write you a letter to let you know that you are the best teacher in the world. About 30-35% of the population is wired with the 'S' type personality.

Books on My Shelf About Shy or Introverted Children

 There are lots of books written about introverted or shy children.  Here are a few of my favorites:

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Every class has its share of shy children and the book, Too Shy for Show and Tell by Beth Bracken outlines many of the fears of Sam. Sam loves chocolate cake and trucks but no one knows that because Sam rarely talks. On the the day that he is to share something at Show and Tell he tries everything from faking illness to pretending that he forgot his item to share. When he finally gets up and shares a picture of his new dog, not only does he not faint or throw-up (his two biggest fears), he also makes new friends because now they know something about him. This is an empowering book that acknowledges the difficulties of children who are shy while it offers encouragement to face the fears and reap the benefits of sharing.

Sometimes you read a book that really captures a personality style perfectly. Deb Fox's book, The Quiet Kid is one of those books. She compares the quiet personality of the child to a sailboat and you can just feel the peace and calm through her amazing illustrations that accompany the poem. This is a great book for validating the strengths and resources of the 'S' personality. 

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Quiet, The Power of  Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain is one of my favorite books of all time.  The information and the research that it offers for parents and teachers is invaluable.  Not only is it a well-researched book that identifies research on the introverted personality, it clearly highlights the strengths and importance of validating this under-appreciated personality style.

  Celebrate the 'S' Personality Style

Cain concludes her book with a section on "How to Cultivate Quiet Kids in a World That Can't Hear Them".  Here are some of her suggestions:
  • Take the time to understand the personality style of your introverted child
  • Don't try to change them into someone more extroverted by pushing them into sports, play dates or other activities. 
  • Recognize that the areas where they have strengths are sometimes solitary pursuits.  Encourage and celebrate these talents.
  • Learn about and share with them the lives of some of the famous introverts.  Rosa Parks, Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt are a few.
  • Recognize and teach children that introverts can be leaders, performers, really anything that they have a passion for.  They just go at it from a different direction.
  • Celebrate with your child the characteristics they have that make them uniquely special.
Do you have a shy or introverted child in your family?  How do you nurture and celebrate their strengths? 

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Do you know a child who likes to write?  Conside the writing camp that I am offering for children this summer.  Read about it in the events page!


1 comment:

  1. From a different direction ... I like that. I don't have a single one of these books but I will now .. thanks!