The Temperament Corner

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Temperament: Mood

by Nancy and Nanci
Posted April 24 2012 12:36pm
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Recently a friend joined Netflix. After uploading three movies, she was upset to find that the site had profiled her as someone who likes “grim, gritty movies.” She quickly uploaded a bunch of romantic comedies to lighten her profile. We’re a society that is focused on the pursuit of happiness but not all of us are born with a sunny predisposition.

MOOD is one of the innate temperament traits. Some people are born with a Sunny mood and some with a SERIOUS mood. Sunny babies flash radiant smiles and laugh easily and often. These babies easily engage the adults and children in their world and radiate a sense of well-being. On the other end of the spectrum, serious babies seem to be philosophers studying the world. If parents aren’t confident in their role, they may see their serious baby as a baby whose needs are not being met.

In one of our temperament workshops we invited six-month-old twins to be our “guest professors.” The baby boy had a sunny mood. He smiled and cooed. We adults smiled and cooed to him. He laughed and we laughed. All of us enjoyed the interaction. Meanwhile, the baby girl looked on with furrowed brow. A few adults talked quietly to her but when she didn’t smile, they turned to her brother. We asked everyone to stop and reflect on how we were reacting to the two children. The mother said that even she and her husband found themselves giving more attention to their happy-go-lucky boy than their serious, reflective girl. Once they realized what was happening, , they made a conscious effort to engage their little girl and to make sure family and friends gave her plenty of attention, too.

If you have a happy-go-lucky baby, what are the challenges? If you label a child as “always happy,” your son or daughter may feel uncomfortable about expressing other emotions like sadness or anxiety. Some sunny children, especially girls, may be seen as naïve or less bright than others. If you have a serious baby, you may have to help family, friends, teachers and caregivers to appreciate your child’s nature. Find ways to involve your child in fun activities but also find ways he can address his serious side - saving pennies for the food bank or picking daffodils for an elderly neighbour.

Remember that ALL children experience the full range of emotions. If you’re not sure how your child is feeling – sunny or serious – offer labels for emotions – happy, pleased, angry, anxious, frightened, disappointed, scared… You may want to offer a scale of one to ten to understand the intensity of the emotion. Helping your child to develop their emotional intelligence will help them understand the complexity emotion brings to all relationships. Whether sunny, serious or moderate in mood, we all benefit from being able to recognize and name the emotions we all feel.

 


 

This article was written by Parents2Parents experts,
Nanci Burns and Nancy Rubenstein
, co-authors of Take Your Temperament!

We all know that every child is unique. The Take Your Temperament! work-book is designed to help you put that reality into action in an engaging and meaningful way. It invites parents and children to explore how they react to the world—and do so without guilt or shame. Find out more at www.takeyourtemperament.ca.

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Temperament Trait Strategies: Adaptability

by Maxine
Posted July 30 2010 04:26pm
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Adaptability: On The Temperament Wheel, is your child high or low? 

Low Adaptability – this child finds it hard to move from one part of their day to the next.

Comfort

  • Acknowledge his successes in adapting to change, such as going from supper to the bath.  This helps your child feel good about his day.

Play

  • Use play to take small steps toward big changes that are on the horizon.  For example, if your baby is very attached to eating from a blue plate—and you know that this can't last—make a game out of eating from different coloured plates. This helps your child learn to adapt to changes that cannot be avoided. This will make her social and emotional life much easier.

Teach

  • Use the "small steps" approach to help your child adapt to unavoidable changes. When you break down big changes into small steps, it makes them less traumatic.  This also helps your child learn to trust you to guide him through life's big challenges.

 

High Adaptability These children transition from one activity to the next with no problem.  They accept your leadership and easily go from sleep to wake, from house to car or from playtime to bathtime.

Comfort

  • Show your baby that you are thrilled when she makes a choice for herself.

Play

  • Provide your baby with play opportunities where he is the leader. For example, let him decide what to play and where to play.  This helps your child learn to be a leader—even though he more naturally accommodates to others wishes.

Teach

  • Teach her who to trust and who not to trust.  This helps her learn to evaluate people, and not just go along with whoever is around.

 

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Temperament Trait Strategies: Approach

by Maxine
Posted July 30 2010 04:29pm
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Approach : On The Temperament Wheel, is your child high or low? 

Low Approach this child is shy – very tentative in new situations.

Comfort

  • Comfort and support your baby when he attempts to reach out to other people. "Blow Grandma a kiss."  Little by little, this helps your child learn to trust other people.

Play

  • Allow your child to play with other children. Support his efforts when he approaches other children. Find one or two other children to play with regularly. This helps your child learn to enjoy time spent with other children.

Teach

  • Use the "small steps" approach to help your baby learn how to overcome her shyness. Break down the challenge into very small steps. Reward each one. For example, start by just waving at a new person. This gradually helps your child learn to approach other people by herself.

 

High Approach – these children are very enthusiastic about new people and new situations.  They seem bold!

Comfort

  • Support your child’s outgoing nature with lots of encouragement. This helps him learn to work well with other people.

Play

  • Keep an eye on your baby during play because she likes people and things that are new. She cannot yet judge whether these are safe or dangerous. This helps her learn how to judge whether new situations are safe or not.

Teach

  • Acknowledge your child for avoiding risky behaviour. This helps your child be safer.

 

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