Preserve the Social Battery.
Payton Johnson, writer for PA Parent and Family Alliance, wrote a blog post titled, "Understanding your Child's Social Battery," which discusses the idea of a social battery and how it important it is to preserve that energy and not drain it all at once. She defines the social battery as a "metaphor for the amount of time and energy someone is able to put into socializing until they feel mentally and sometimes physically drained." For children who may be naturally introverted, or they may be struggling with their social interactions, operating and socializing on an empty battery can be damaging to their overall mental health. Which is why, as a parent, it is crucial to pay attention to this social battery and ensure that your child is getting the chance to recharge when it is needed. Without the opportunity to recharge, every social experience your child has could end in them having a meltdown or feelings of anxiety, which could make them want to avoid being around people altogether, eventually resulting in insolation. That is why being on your child's team when it comes to their social battery is very important and change their social experience for the better. Johnson included a tip sheet in her article that would be very useful for reference or to just keep handy if you ever see a difference in your child's socialization patterns. The first tip she mentions isn to just bring it up to your child. They may feel as if they are the one one who is feeling this way or experiencing this, especially when they look around at school or at parties and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves and having fun. You can bring it up casually and express to them that you have been in social settings where you experienced anxiety or wanted to leave early; we've all been there before. Let them know that these feelings are normal and they are not alone in this struggle. You can also help them visualize the idea of a social battery so that they understand the concept better. You can use the example of a phone or a tablet battery, when it's full, the object is up and running perfectly but when it begins to drain and die, it runs slower and its less enjoyable to play with. Once you get the conversation going, ask them if they are okay with you helping them keep up with their social battery. Let them know that you can work on a plan together to help them recharge and fuel their battery and you can do things like set time limits for social outings or do check-ins when an invite is extended to make sure they are really prepared for a social experience on that given day. You can share the tip sheet provided in Johnson's article with your child and let them choose items that they feel would be helpful to them. You can take or leave any of the tips in order to give your child the best chance at having fulfilling and valuable social experiences.