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Type Tips from the Experts

Strengths and Stretches: Type Tip #28

When children are using their personality type preferences, we say they are using their STRENGTHS. Using a strength feels natural, comfortable, easy, and typically requires less concentration and focus. When the task at hand requires them to use their opposite preferences, we say they are STRETCHING to do the task. When a child has to stretch to complete a task, they may feel awkward, uncomfortable, and it typically requires more time, greater concentration, and someone to show them what to do. When stretching, the younger the child the more help they may need to successfully complete the task.

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Meeting Our Needs With Respect: Type Tip #27

People who prefer Extraversion re-energize by engaging, doing, and interacting, whereas those who prefer Introversion need solitude and quiet time to re-energize. As a parent who prefers Introversion balancing the needs of a child who prefers Extraversion can at times be challenging. When a parent comes home at the end of the workday wanting solitude or quiet time to recharge, they can feel overwhelmed and frustrated when their child with a preference for Extraversion wants to follow them around ready and excited to interact. An adult who prefers Introversion, without those needed moments of solitude, can "act out" just as much as a child who prefers Extraversion who doesn't get enough needed interaction and engagement. Instead of "acting out" and treating one's child as if his/her behavior is wrong or annoying, a parent can say, "I need a few quiet moments alone after my busy day. Then let's play and talk about your day." Parents can ask for their needs to be met, too.

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"To Go" Mat: Type Tip #26

If you have a child with ESP (Extraversion, Sensing, Perceiving) preferences you may appreciate using a "To Go" mat. This type is energized by what is happening in the moment and can get so distracted by current events that they forget something you just gave them to hold such as a water bottle for the soccer game. Buy a carpet sample or a mat. Designate it as the "To Go" mat. When the child has something that will need to go with them in the car (e.g., book bag, water bottle, coat, homework) they take it immediately to the "To Go" mat and place it there. When they are ready to go to the car they stop and pick up the things that are on the "To Go" mat. It works much better than saying repeatedly, "I just gave it to you. Where did you put it?"

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Thinking Out Loud with Extraversion: Type Tip #25

Because people who prefer Extraversion tend to think "out loud" they sometimes say one thing but change direction quickly. A parent with a preference for Introversion might overreact to a comment too soon. When talking with a child who prefers Extraversion, if they express something that is perplexing, I usually ask first, "Is this a final thought or a thought still forming?" If it is a final thought, you can react. If it is a forming thought, you can wait for the final version before reacting.

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The Joy is in the Details: Type Tip #24

Children with a Sensing preference enjoy sharing all the rich details of an event. How could you possibly understand the ending if you don't know all the pieces? When asked to describe a presentation at school a young child who prefers Sensing started with "We were on Unit 22 - Rounding" and then she continued with explicit details. Their joy is sharing. If you do not have time to listen to everything it would be better to say, "Tell me Chapters 1 and 2 now and save the rest of the story for later. I can listen better then." Hurrying a child's (Sensing preference) narration can send a secondary message that the details are not important when they really are important to them.

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