A child’s temperament describes the way that she approaches and reacts to the world. It is her personal "style." Temperament influences a child’s behavior and the way she interacts with others.
When we understand our child’s temperament, we can begin to anticipate what situations may be easy or more difficult for her. We can nurture her strengths and help her learn to cope with challenges. And we can change how we parent based on our child’s temperament—for example, some children just need “the look” to stop an off-limits behavior, while other children may need more help from us to shift to another, more appropriate activity. Understanding temperament is one important way of nurturing a strong parent-child bond.
Tips on Temperament
Offers introductory information on temperament, and how it influences the parent-child relationships. For more detailed information on each of the five characteristics of temperament, browse the links below:
- How Active Your Child Is
- How Emotionally Intense Your Child Is
- How Sociable Your Child Is
- How Easily Your Child Adapts to Change
- How Persistent Your Child Is
Babies and Their Senses
Discusses how parents can tune in to their babies’ sensory preferences.
When a Child is Inconsolable—Staying Near
Zero to Three Journal essay on the importance of parents and caregivers just "being there" for children who are feeling overwhelmed and out of control.
Helping Young Children Channel Their Aggressive Tendencies
Zero to Three Journal article that provides tips to parents for guiding toddlers to more acceptable behaviors.
Babies and Their Senses
Cry, Baby, Cry
My 2-month-old cries hysterically when I dress and undress him. It makes me feel awful, but what can I do?
As soon as I answer the phone, my 1-year-old always starts fussing for my attention. What can I do?
My 13-month-old has started biting me and I don't know what to do.
ME DO IT!
My 16-month-old is in that phase where he wants to do everything by himself--even things that are dangerous, like cutting his food up. How can I reason with him?
Responding to Toddler Aggression
My sister's son is the same age as mine-16 months-and I want them to be good friends. The only problem is my nephew is a bit more aggressive. How can I help them to get along?
My 18-month-old refuses to brush her teeth. We have a power struggle every morning and at bedtime. What can I do?
Remote Control Issues
My 18-month-old is obsessed with our remote control. She always goes back to it, even when I try to distract her with other toys. What is it about children and electronics?
I can't get a handle on my 20-month-old's moods. He is happy one minute, furious the next. Is this normal?
Bye Bye Binky
How do I wean my 20-month-old daughter off her pacifier?
The other day I saw another child take the toy my son was playing with. He didn't protest at all. What can I do to help him be more assertive?
Back to Baby Talk
My toddler reverted to baby talk after we brought home our newborn son. I'm really worried. What can I do?
Up. Up. UP!
My toddler always wants to be carried. What can I do?
We're potty training my 3-year-old, but she refuses to use public toilets. She holds the urine in for hours. What can I do?
Temperament in Early Development: A Primer for the Perplexed
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Journal article that explores all aspects of temperament.
The Idea of Temperament: Does it Help Parents Understand Their Babies?
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Journal article that suggests how to discuss temperament with parents, and how to use the notion of temperament as a strategy to strengthen the parent-child bond.
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What's Best for My Baby and Me?
By Claire Lerner and Amy Laura Dombro (2006)
This brief parent guide outlines a three-step process for decision-making around sticky child-rearing issues.
Bringing Up Baby: Three Steps to Making Good Decisions in Your Child's First Years
By Claire Lerner and Amy Laura Dombro (2005)
Book shows parents easy, three-step approach for making child-rearing decisions in the first three years and beyond. Making decisions about your child’s sleep—co-sleeping, “crying it out”, etc.—is discussed as well.
Learning and Growing Together: Understanding and Supporting Your Child's Development
By Claire Lerner and Amy Laura Dombro (2000)
Book explores several important parenting issues, including early childhood development milestones and what parents can do to support healthy development.