Every child is born with a temperament that is the building blocks of their adult personality and emotionality. In a previous post, we discussed different types of temperament, the importance of goodness of fit, and things parents should keep in mind. Now we want to provide some tips for helping children with different temperaments, but first it's important to know the 9 characteristics of temperament.
- Activity Level: physical activity and motion
- Approach and withdrawal: how your child responds to a new thing (bold vs. hesitant)
- Adaptability: to what degree of ease your child adjusts to change or new situations
- Intensity: positive or negative response levels to a situation
- Mood: your child’s tendency to respond in a negative or positive way
- Distractibility: How easily your child can be distracted from a task due to environmental stimulus
- Sensory Threshold: The amount of stimulation in order to elicit a response in the child
- Regularity: The predictability of your child’s biological functions including sleep and eating
- Persistence: How long a child spends on one activity,
even when it becomes difficult
Now that we know the 9 characteristics, here are some tips for specific temperaments.
Very Active Child: provide quieter activities, ask teachers to provide special jobs when the child is restless so she can move around, teach her how to calm down when she is overactive (breathing, rubbing back, etc.).
Less Active Child: Play quieter activities, introduce more active activities, limit television time.
The Sensitive Child: Lower lights and sounds in your home, allow him to help with cooking so that they can smell and taste food during preparation, speak quietly when he is upset.
The Less Sensitive Child: provide activities and toys that provide light and sound, have him stop to look around to notice messes or beautiful things he may not initially notice.
The Expressive (Intense) Child: Encourage turn taking, provide dramatic games, stay calm when she has strong emotions, remind her to stop, think, and act.
The Less Expressive (Intense) Child: Make sure he is getting enough attention, listen to him, ask teachers to encourage him to express himself, appreciate him for who he is.
The Very Persistent Child: Encourage flexibility with activities, don’t give in all the way, read longer stories to her, let teachers know she can need notice before switching activities.
The Less Persistent Child: Help the child complete tasks, keep games and stories shorter, offer small rewards for completing jobs, break larger projects down.
The Distracted Child: provide step-by-step instructions rather than a general task, encourage activities away from the TV and other distractions, keep activities short.
The Less Distracted Child: encourage activities that take greater focus, allow extra time to think about things before giving an answer, understand it may take more to get her attention.
The Adaptable Child: encourage to make new friends, provide field trips to new places, change chores and rewards often.
The Less Adaptable Child: Help the child make new friends, discuss big changes like moves or the death of a pet, warn her about upcoming changes, keep a routine as much as possible.
The Routine Child: Keep routines as much as possible and provide warning for changes, choose a more structured childcare program, bring snacks if his familiar meal routine will be disrupted, take familiar objects on trips to keep routines similar to home.
The No Routine Child: make routines a game or add songs, encourage some activities that require routines, occasionally switch up family routines.
The Happy Child: introduce him to friends who may be more serious, encourage sensitivity, let him know that everyone feels unhappy sometimes, encourage service.
The Less Happy Child: plan fun family outings, provide games that fit his interests, let him know you appreciate him, help label feelings, read funny books and talk about laughter.