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Introverted or Extroverted? How to build a summer routine that works

Kids have a spot at camp? Check. Enrolled in swimming? Check. Taking an art class? Check. There’s no question that keeping your kids busy and having a routine during the summer months is a good idea. Especially with teens and pre-teens, too much idle time leaves room for kids to get into trouble. While July is often more relaxed, getting back into a routine in August can be an important step to prepare them for back to school.

However, sometimes as parents we get so focused on getting them busy and back into routine that forget is to factor in that what kind of routine fits with your child’s personality.

As is highlighted eloquently in the book Quiet, today’s school structure and much of society is set up to cater to more extroverted individuals. Camp is a perfect example of this: kids share their space with tons of other kids and are constantly interacting with one another, from when they have breakfast and brush their teeth to when they fall asleep at night. For an extrovert, this type of experience can be energizing and enlightening. For an introvert, however, it can be exhausting and anxiety-provoking.

It’s not uncommon to see parents of introverted kids- especially if they themselves are more extroverted- getting frustrated or worried about their child’s resistance or avoidance to the summer routines they’ve set in place. Although we want to prepare them for going back to school, it is important that the routine they have in the summer is still enjoyable and gives them a change to re-energize.

If you’ve found you’re hitting resistance and aren’t sure how to get them into a good routine this month, here are a few tips to help smooth things out:

Ask your kid what they want to do. While this might sound obvious, it’s amazing how often parents forget to factor in what their kids want to do. If “watching TV” or “hanging out with friends” is all the want to do, it’s important that you make at least some space into their routine for the things they like. Especially if they are more introverted, it’s likely they’ll want to do more solitary activities and it’s important to build extra time in their routine for these so they can feel relaxed.

Negotiate a middle ground. While it’s important to ask kids for their opinion, that doesn’t mean what you want them to do isn’t also important. Parents need a break too, and sometimes kids need a bit of push to help them to grow and learn. The key is to find a middle ground. For example, if all they want to do is watch Netflix and all you want is for them to go to an overnight camp for a month, a middle ground might be a day camp for two weeks instead.

Make sure the ratio for solitary and social activities fits with their personality. It’s important to take into consideration how introverted or extroverted your child is and add more or less social activities based on this. For example, a more extroverted kid might play soccer several times a week where as a more introverted kid might take guitar lessons once a week.

Include time to unplug and unwind. Whether they love socializing or staying at home, every kid needs a break from technology at some point. It might be going camping for a couple days or just spending a couple hours lying in the park without a phone. Whatever the activity, it’s important to give them a chance to unwind and avoid being overstimulated.

Anna Coutts

Anna CouttsFeb-2015

About Anna Coutts

Anna is a youth and family therapist based out of Toronto, Ontario. She splits her time working at an accredited children’s mental health agency and running her online private practice, Coutts Online Counselling.





July 30, 2015

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