Before I share my tips with you, I would like to talk about a student of mine ‘Alok’. He was a gem of my class VI C. This diamond was a hidden treasure but a difficult mining. I never saw him complaining. He hardly had friends in the class. This boy was not that participative in the class but his writings always surprised me. He was an introvert.
Being a communication teacher, I was asked to organize an impromptu speech competition. I took the charge of taking auditions for all the classes. I wanted more and more students to be a part of this. While taking the round of audition of my own class, I saw that Alok has not given his name for participation. I did not want to force him but somewhere wished that he should have been there. So I asked him if he wanted to participate. He hesitantly said ‘No’. When I wanted to be sure about this, he turned his answer to ‘Yes’. His auditions went well and he was selected for the final rounds.
On the day, I was at the back stage, helping kids to pick up the topics. Alok’s turn was nearing up. I guess I was more excited than he was. He came to me some 15 minutes before his turn. Teary eyed, he said ‘Ma’am, I cannot do it. It’s such a huge crowd there and I am too shy to do this.’ I again did not want to force him but I guess at this point of time all he needed was few words of encouragement, which I gave. I patted him back and reminded him of the audition that he gave in front of 40 kids and two teachers. So what, if this number turns to some 400. He just needs the 40 sitting in the front rows, as it’s not possible to have a glance at all 400.
After taking my blessings, he went to the stage and returned with a runner up trophy in his hands. He came back to me with a broad smile and that gave me contentment as a teacher. From that day onwards, Alok gradually started telling me about himself and his family, which made me realize what made ‘Alok’ an introvert or rather a less talkative person.
So here are a few things that I learned from ‘Alok’.
Being an introvert:
There is no harm in being an introvert. A child as an individual has his or her own preferences. I believe those preferences should be respected. May be they have other ways of expressing their feelings and love to be in their own space.
Do not compel:
Do not force the kids to be friends with someone or become social all of a sudden. Give them time. Many kids take their own time to mingle up to their surroundings. But once they do, they outshine as a star.
Nurture their hobby:
As I said, kids who are introvert might have a different way to express rather than voicing their views with others. May be books or journals are their best friends or may be a canvas and colors.
Start it early:
If your child is a toddler, you can have play dates. This way the child learns to mingle with kids of his/her age group and makes friends easily as they grow up.
Sometimes, it is the situations or the scenarios that make a child introvert. Parents need to be the first friends of any child. If a child is hesitant to talk in front of his parents, s(he) will be a closed books to others as well. Parents need to spare out some time for their kids and be good listeners to them.
Do not label them:
Introvert does not mean shy. ‘Shy’ is just a label. Do not give that to a kid. Instead, give the words of motivation and appreciation when kids do something they were scared of doing earlier. The shyness will just vanish.