Parenting as an introvert parent comes with special kind of challenges. These become even tougher if your child (or children) happen to be extroverted and seek social interaction all the time. Naturally, you can start to feel drained physically and emotionally. Not to mention…where does your downtime go?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We know how important some alone time is to you. Compiled from The Huffington Post, here are five tips introverted parents can rely on to help them cope.
1) Wake up an hour earlier
This may sound horrible, especially if your children are young and don’t sleep through the night, but waking up early will allow you to begin the day slowly and quietly. It’ll be good for you to try and resist the impulse to fold the laundry or empty the dishwasher — there will be time for that later. Spend these moments in peaceful introspection, just soaking up the silence. A delicious breakfast muffin or two doesn’t sound too bad either!
2) Host a play date
Again, this may seem counterintuitive but hosting a play date might make your day less stressful. If your kids fall on the more extroverted end of the spectrum, it’s important to acknowledge that they need social interaction as much as you need alone time. Inviting friends over takes pressure off of you, as the kids will mostly entertain each other. Bonus: all of that playtime will wear your kids out and they’ll be ready for some quiet time later!
3) Schedule independent, quiet playtime
When kids outgrow nap time, parents get flustered. They may not need to rest but you certainly do! That’s when I began to schedule a daily hour of independent quiet play. They don’t have to nap, but you can ask them to play in their own rooms quietly. This practice can help children learn to appreciate solitude and enjoy their own company, which is so important for raising them to be creative and confident.
4) Catch a break
It doesn’t matter who you are — everyone needs a break sometimes. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. If you have a partner, parent or babysitter who can lend a hand, that’s great! Or maybe another mom or dad can host a play date. If you’re looking to steal a few more quiet moments during the day, see what child-friendly activities are available in your community.
5) Implement a consistent early bedtime routine
Not only is a regular, early bedtime routine good for kids, but it’s also a lifesaver for exhausted parents. Knowing you’ll be able to unwind when the clock strikes 8 makes the chaotic dinner/homework/bath time hours more manageable.
Please remember that taking a little time for yourself throughout the day isn’t selfish — it’s self-care! For an introvert, alone time isn’t a luxury — it’s a necessity. These small breaks will likely make you a more energetic and patient parent and that’s a win-win for everybody.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2016.