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How to Parent an Introvert

How one mom nurtures the introvert in a family of extroverts

How to Parent an Introvert

I wouldn’t call myself an extrovert in that I don’t fit that classic definition. I have always needed alone time to recharge, collect myself, and feel whole. But I would call myself a very social introvert; and what’s more, I married a true extrovert. My husband feeds off the energy of other people. We’re busy, we’re nomadic, we like to put ourselves out there.

So it came as no surprise when our first daughter was born that she loved people, even as a baby. As she grew, she wanted to be in the throes of action, always on-the-go. Now she’s in school, and even a full day of friends and learning is barely enough to satiate her craving. When it comes to parenting an extrovert, every day I remind myself to let go, and let my daughter be this big personality that she is.

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When our second daughter came along, I knew from the womb that she would be different. As a baby, she was interested in few but me, and she was her happiest in those quiet moments, just me rocking her. It was easy to identify her more quiet, observant nature; and honestly, it was good for me to be in touch with that part of myself again. It was a bond we shared, craving solitude. Still, as she grew older, I also found it a bit trickier to parent her. And I realized, I was harder on her in some respects, maybe because as a socially-inclined introvert, I’m hard on myself.

In our family, we like to celebrate all of the unique parts that make us a whole. And where that meant creating space for our oldest to be herself, it means doing the same for our youngest to be different than her sister. Here are a few of the things we try to remember when parenting our introvert.

1. Teach alone time. As an adult, I’ve learned to recognize when I’m emotionally exhausted and need to retreat a bit. But most children don’t come by this naturally -- the true purveyors of FOMO. When I notice my daughter becoming weary (and different kids manifest this differently), I try to encourage her to take some alone time before it escalates into a fit. This could be interesting her in a specific, focused task or having her sit on her bed with a few books and some coloring.

2. Leave room for the feelings. Kids are emotional, and I sense this particularly raising young girls. And all kids, introverted or extroverted, need to be guided in curbing these emotions in a socially acceptable way. But for an introverted kid, the lack of this skill can be even more upsetting. I work closely with my daughter on calming techniques or encouraging her to take some space to figure out the proper way to say what she’s feeling. You can teach communication without belittling the emotion.

3. Look for outlets. A lot of times, introverts are naturally creative. Because energy comes from being alone, specific hobbies are great for cultivating and expressing that energy. It’s a skill an introvert will need into adulthood, and so it’s great to help your child explore all sorts of interests that also benefit their social and emotional needs. My daughter loves playing with clay or Play-doh, which is perfect for exploring imaginary themes through tangible, tactile means.

4. Push when you can. Being introverted or “shy” can’t be a crutch in adulthood, and it’s good to begin teaching this lesson early. When your child has you rooting for them, they can be braver. Sometimes it is hard to push your kid socially, but they will benefit from your nudge. We encourage our daughter to practice speaking to grown-ups in safe settings, like asking the librarian for a certain book or answering conversational questions with her teacher at the start of school.

5. Remember they are their own person. This is a big lesson for me, considering myself an introvert. I want to be hard on my daughter for all the right reasons, but in the end, it’s like parenting myself if I approach it that way. Our kids are their own little people, and they will find their way. In that sense, setting up goals and boundaries, and then stepping back to let them be is the best approach. They can come into their own the most fully when they do it themselves.

Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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We're only a few months into the new year and there are already some new celebrity arrivals making headlines while making their new parents proud.

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