My family and I had a discussion recently about how we each recharge emotionally. Afterward, I thought about how much that single piece alone affects a child’s happiness and sense of well-being both during vacations and during the school year.
How each of us recharges has a lot do to with whether we are an extrovert or an introvert. Most of us think extroversion and introversion are synonymous with outgoing and shy. However, another way to consider these terms is to think about where we get our energy. If you’re an extrovert, then being around other people energizes you. Being alone drains an extrovert. They need lots of interaction. On the other hand, introverts recharge by spending time alone. It doesn’t mean that they don’t like socializing or being with others; it’s just that this is tiring and draining. To re-energize, introverts need solitude.
So what does this mean for the school year? Well, think about your child. Have you observed her to be more extroverted or introverted? When she’s stressed and tired out does she seek out others or retreat to her room? If you have an extroverted child, the school day itself may not provide enough stimulation and social contact. An extroverted child may need, even thrive on, participation in lots of extra-curricular activities. If your child is introverted, though, the school day may prove to be a tiring experience. She may need to come home and decompress in order to be charged up for the next day.
Vacations work the very same way. Extroverted children may be thrilled to spend their school breaks interacting with other kids at a camp or class whereas introverted children may need quiet time alone at home. So as you’re planning your children’s activities this fall, think a bit about their temperament and try to find a balance between solitude and socialization.
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