To get a better picture of your baby’s unique temperament and how it might affect development, experts recommend taking notes for a short period of time on your baby’s natural behavior. For each trait, write down your observations, and then rate your baby’s behavior on the continuum or that trait.
Once you get a clear idea of how your child normally reacts under different circumstances, you can work on adjusting your schedule, daily routine or parenting tactics to minimize stress while still accomplishing overall goals, such as safety, good nutrition, proper care, and warm affection and support.
The following are some tips and tools for adapting parenting techniques to specific traits.
- Highly Active: highly energetic babies need lots of childproofed space within which to explore and move about. Try to let them roam as much as is safely possible within the house, rather than keeping them to a single room, crib or playpen.
- Very curious: if your baby loves to investigate new things and always seems to be into everything, make this trait enjoyable for both of you by ensuring your baby has a safe space to explore. Child-proof, childproof and childproof again. If you’ve made certain there’s nothing truly dangerous around, you’ll feel more comfortable turning your child loose, and you won’t have to rely so heavily on the power of “NO!”
- Persistent: this trait may become more prominent as your baby nears their first birthday. When you start to set limits on what your persistent child can and can’t do, they may not comply as willingly as you’d like. Persistent children don’t like giving up easily, and if you won’t let them climb the bookshelves or fiddle with the electric outlet, you’re bound to meet resistance.
- Intense: You can expect strong reactions from an intense child. Just don’t counter you little one’s intensity with your own. When you see your child’s emotions building, stay (or at least try to act) calm and soothing in return. Emotions can be especially volatile at the end of the day, so try to keep dinner and bedtime routines simple and predictable.
- Irregular: babies who have irregular rhythms require a little more flexibility. Here’s where the art of parenting comes into play, and you have to use knowledge of your child’s temperament combined with a creative flair for getting the job done. You can still coax them into something of a schedule that fits with the rest of the family. You might gradually extend the minutes between feedings to make them more regular or keep naps to a consistent length every day.
- Quiet and Content: babies who almost always appear content, regardless of household chaos and hectic schedules, can be so easy to live with that they sometimes get lost in the shuffle. This is especially true if you have other demands on your time, such as a busy work schedule or older children who require more active management. It can be easy to put off someone who isn’t clamoring for attention. But check in regularly with your adaptable tyke, making sure you spend time with them and that all of their needs are met.
Please realize these are just a few of the behaviors of children, as there are many variables. If you have questions, talk to someone you trust like your doctor, for the information you are seeking. The most important thing to understand is how to best help your child.
Mayo Clinic Guide to your Baby’s First Year