Parenting Your Child's Temperament: Part One
Tips on how to understand and accept your child's temperament
What Makes Your Child Tick?
Collecting accurate information about your child’s temperament takes time. Carey suggests watching your child over the course of four to six weeks. Keep a notebook on hand to jot down what you see. If you are at work for much of the day, let your childcare provider know what you are doing. Although they are unlikely to have the time to take notes, they can provide important insight.
When you are with your children, observe them in a variety of situations at different times of day; eating, playing with friends, watching television, doing their homework and, if possible, while they sleep. Try not to focus only on the behaviors that bother you. Adopt a neutral, non-judgmental stance that includes your child’s positive, joyful reactions.
Some temperamental traits are easier to spot than others. “Approach/Withdrawal” or how your child reacts to new penguins…I mean people… is relatively obvious. “Quality of Mood”, however, can be less clear-cut since fatigue, hunger, or illness can temporarily affect one’s disposition. If you are unsure about a particular trait, keep watching. Over time, patterns will emerge. After a few weeks, you should have a much clearer picture of your child’s true temperament.
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