Traits of Introverted Children

girl reading book with feet up
Blend Images-KidStock/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Do you worry because your child has few friends, is quiet, and is not outgoing? Are you always encouraging your child to make new friends, talk to the other kids and spend less time alone? All parents worry about their children, but if your child is an introvert, you may be worrying unnecessarily.

How do you know if your child is an introvert? You can start by looking at this short list of characteristics of introverts to see how many of them apply to your child.

The more that apply, the more likely it is that your child is an introvert.

Social Interaction

  • Has only a few close friends
  • Does more listening than talking
  • Talks to family members, but not to strangers

Social Preferences

  • Likes solitary activities, like reading, or activities with only a few people
  • Likes to spend time in her own room with the door closed.
  • Watches a game or activity before joining in
  • Likes creative or imaginative play


  • May get crabby after spending a lot of time around other people
  • Does not share feelings easily
  • Becomes deeply humiliated after making a mistake in public

This list is quite brief, but it can give you an idea of whether your child is an introvert or not.

Introverts vs. Extroverts

By some estimates, extroverts outnumber introverts three to one. That being the case, extroverted parents may discover their child in an introvert and worry that she is not like them in many ways.

Introverts must expend energy in social situations, while extroverts gain energy from being with other people. An introvert recharges by spending time alone while an extrovert may need to seek out other people after spending some time in a solitary pursuit. Introverts look inward, exploring their own thoughts and moods.

Extroverts look outwards for stimulation.

Nothing is wrong with either personality trait. Most people lean one way or the other and often experience a combination of both. But an individual can be at the extreme of either end of the spectrum.

The Introverted Child

Determining whether your child is more of an introvert or more of an extrovert can help you support her in her educational pursuits as well as her social life. An introverted child may not be comfortable learning in group activities or participating in social groups. Allowing time for independent study and solitary play can give the introverted child a chance to recharge.

There is a difference between being shy and being introverted. Both may avoid social situations, but the introvert does so by choice while the shy child does so out of fear. The shy child wants to interact with others and is distressed by their fear of doing so. Therapy can help a shy child overcome these fears. There is no need for therapy for the introverted child.

See more tips for raising an introverted child. Learn to respect you child's preferences, accept your child's responses which may be different from your own, and support your child appropriately.


The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications, Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall, 2010

Continue Reading