Sunday, December 14, 2014

Introvert or Extrovert?

The terms introvert and extrovert have been used widely as of late.  Have you ever thought of which category your child fits in? It could affect their behavior all year, but particularly during the holiday season with all of the get togethers/concerts/events that they may encounter.  A more introverted personality, as Carl Jung first coined it, is a person who's motives or actions are directed more inward.  Introverts tend to be more preoccupied with their own thoughts and feelings and minimize their contact with other people.  In short they are shy and can become more anxious when in a large group or when expected to perform.  Introverts need time and support to enter into social situations and they also need gentle coaching in order to feel more successful.  How can you help your introverted child when they encounter these situations?  Start by having play dates at your house to help them feel more comfortable and then slowly widen their circle of comfort until they feel ready to go to a classmates house.  Before a birthday party talk to your child prior to the event and explain that you will stay for a few minutes and then you will leave for the duration of the party and pick them up at the designated time.  At a visit to the playground or the park help your introverted child enter into a group of children, as this may be a very daunting situation for them.  Coach them and then together practice the words to use to enter into an activity or game.  In the community help your child by having them order at a restaurant or a deli counter at a grocery store, have them hand the cashier the money and encourage them to answer questions when asked by the cashier or when you encounter a friend doing errands.  Most importantly, be patient, understanding and supportive while encouraging your child to engage in conversation or play with others.  

An extroverted child, as written by Carl Jung, is a person whose motives and actions are directed outward.  Extroverts are more prone to action than contemplation, they make friends easily, adjust to social situations with ease, and generally show great interest in their surroundings. We live in an extroverted world and those with this personality can navigate through social situations and perform for others with ease.  On the flip side, Extroverts can be very demanding and always want to be on center stage.  Extroverts often need constant stimulation or they can bore easily.  They often have shorter attention spans and they can make quick decisions without thoroughly thinking everything through.  

Extroverts often describe introverts as boring ‘stick in the mud’s’, while they are themselves described as superficial and loud. These perceptions can have a big effect in any kind of relationship.  
Here is how it often works; extroverts get lonely when they are not with people, and often need a variety of people to maintain their interest. Introverts can get lonely when they are surrounded by people- especially if they don’t know them.
It is wrong to think of introverts as being antisocial. They can be as gregarious in their way as an extrovert. It is just that their way will be different. Socializing for them will usually involve people known to them, with conversation occurring in small groups, often with the opportunity available for them to be observers rather than participants.

Knowing your own personalities and those of your family members will help you understand each other and empathize with one another.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Morning Routines

If your mornings are anything like mine, with my own two children, you know the benefits to having a morning routine when getting ready for the school day.  Getting out the door is no small feat - kids need to be dressed, teeth and hair brushed, breakfast eaten, backpacks packed and in the winter all the snow gear needs to get out the door as well.  Obviously, all of these responsibilities don't fall on parents shoulders but they need to be shared with your children to give them responsibility and allow for a pleasant morning.  The following tips will allow everyone to leave without bickering and it will leave everyone with a happier start to the day.

The most important tip is to teach your child to take care of their morning routine as independently as possible, without you reminding, taking over or helping when it isn't required.  You need to first decide how much time you need to get your child and yourself out the door in order to get to school on time. Then make a list of the things, include pictures for younger children, that need to be done in the order they need to be completed.  Make sure that backpacks and clothes are picked out the night before to make for an even easier morning.  Hang the list in a visible location for your child and allow them to check items off as they go to feel that sense of accomplishment.  As your child completes each task provide specific praise (nice job getting your teeth brushed, etc) to encourage your child to continue.  If your child gets everything done with time to spare allow them a few minutes of play time before heading out the door.  Lastly, walk out the door on time even if their morning routine isn't complete.  Do not give in to the temptation to nag or scold or do the task for your child.  Chances are they won't want to continue to eat breakfast on the go the next morning and they will complete their tasks on time.
Remember, change takes time.  Plan carefully and keep your patience, even when it is most difficult. Children who have happier mornings at home and arrive to school on time go on to have more successful days at school - which is the goal that we are working towards for everyone!