5 Strategies to Help Introvert Parents Maintain Their Sanity

Marzi, otherwise known as Introvert Doodles, is our newest contributor! Watch this space for more illustrated tips for you and the introverted littles in your life.

Q: “I’m an introverted mother of three kids, ages 2-10. I love my children but often feel drained from the constant interaction. Help!”

A: As a mom of three myself, I get it! Parenting as an introvert can present its own challenges.

From one introverted mama to another, here are some suggestions for maintaining balance:

1) Wake up an hour earlier. This will allow you to begin the day slowly and quietly. 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 muffin isn’t a bad idea either!)

Morning

2) Host a playdate. It may seem counterintuitive, but hosting a playdate 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 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!

Chart

3) Schedule independent quiet play. When my kids outgrew nap time, I felt flustered. They may not have needed to rest, but I certainly did! That’s when I began to schedule a daily hour of independent quiet play. I didn’t expect them to nap, but I did ask that they play quietly in their own rooms. This practice can help children learn to appreciate solitude and enjoy their own company, which is so important for raising creative and confident kids.

Quiet_play4) Catch a break. It doesn’t matter who you are—every parent 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 playdate. If you’re looking to steal a few more quiet moments during the day, see what child-friendly activities are available in your community.

Break

5) Implement a consistent early bedtime routine. I can’t say enough about the beauty of a regular early bedtime. Not only is it 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.

Cinderella

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!

Share your thoughts.

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  • teospower

    Good advice for the future, currently I am a father of one 1-year-old extremely (as far as I can tell) extroverted boy, he must have gotten that from his mother 🙂
    I am the one who picks him up from daycare in the afternoon, meaning that my quiet time that I used to have between me getting home (4 PM) and the love of my life coming home at 5-5.30 PM have been “taken” from me, voluntarily of course, our son was planned. Most days however he is content to play alone, albeit with a few helping hands from daddy when he gets his fingers/head/hands/feet stuck in something or the cats are being a pain (Most likely because he likes picking them up by the tail) etc. I still feel that I get my alone time somehow, either by reading next to him, cooking supper while he plays, or just sitting quietly watching him play. True some days he is a nightmare of “I need my daddy” but thanks to the blessing of being married to the most understanding extroverted woman I can then catch my alone time after our son has been put to bed, she knows when I need some quiet time, mostly because I tell her and she accepts that 🙂

    But naturally like any introverted parent I have been contemplating life once he starts talking and making demands towards my alone time, this article will be committed to memory for sure, thank you!

  • Christina Cooper

    Marzi – love this! I’m an introverted mother of nine-year-old twins who think spending all their time interacting with me is their daily goal. They’re getting a lot of training in what introversion is and how we need to respect other’s needs. (When they see me getting overwhelmed and starting to pant and twitch, they’ll back off and ask, “Do you need a book and some introvert time?”) Your chart above is spot-on. Playdates are indeed a good if counterintuitive solution – but be aware only some playmates will fit the bill for this. (I know exactly which of my kids’ friends happily engage with them for hours without needing me; the kids who think I’m somehow another playmate who must be included in the playdate don’t get invited back.)

  • Tom Shepherd

    Splash parks are becoming popular and are great places for introvert parents. Ours is enclosed by a safety fence with umbrella covered picnic tables surrounding the play area. The kids are free to play while I’m free to either visit with people or quietly read with a tall glass of iced tea…. 🙂