Understanding your baby’s personality or temperament can make a significant difference in the harmony of your household. Many parents claim to know their newborn’s temperament early on, sensing what the child’s personality will be. For others, the crying simply overwhelms and it is hard to cut through the noise and understand what drives the new addition.
The American Association of Pediatrics classifies a baby’s personality into three broad categories; easy, slow to warm up (or shy), or difficult and challenging. Whether your baby falls into one of these categories or is a blend, it is important to know that he or she is most likely hard wired that way. At an early age, temperament is usually not a reflection of parenting although the child’s environment does a play a greater role as times goes on.
If your baby falls into the latter category, a bit cranky, learning what makes up their personality can help. You’ll know how to better handle an outburst if you study your baby’s personality-driven behaviors.
- Activity level: the amount of physical activity, motion, restlessness or fidgety behavior a baby demonstrates in daily activities (which also may affect sleep). Is your baby happier when being rocked?
- Approach and withdrawal: the way a baby initially responds to a new stimulus (rapid and bold or slow and hesitant), whether it be people, situations, places, foods, changes in routines or other transitions. Many babies are leery about new adults, but some babies will never warm up to anyone other than the mother or father.
Adaptability: the degree of ease or difficulty with which a baby adjusts to change or a new situation, and how well the infant can modify his reaction. Does your baby cry at a new home? If so, how long does she take to cheer up?
Intensity: the energy level with which a child responds to a situation, whether positive or negative.
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