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The 9 Temperamental Traits

What is temperament?

Temperament is a set of traits that helps determine your child’s personality, and in turn their behavior. These traits are inherent from birth, and will most likely remain through adulthood.

These characteristics help explain why a child likes to be cuddled, or is constantly moving.

Learning about temperament helps parents understand why their children react to certain situations and avoid difficulties.

Temperament Traits

These traits were developed through careful research compiled and conducted by Doctors Chess and Thomas.

Activity Level: is how active your child is most of the time.

  • Is your infant always wiggling?
  • Does he move even when he’s feeding?
  • Is your baby content to sit and watch?
  • Can your child sit still? Is your child a bundle of energy?
  • Or, does she prefer to sit and participate in quiet activities?

Distractibility: refers to how easily outside influences can distract your child. It is determined by how well your child concentrates on an activity they are not particularly interested in.

  • Is your baby easily distracted by sounds while feeding?
  • Does your infant easily adjust when offered an alternate activity?
  • Does your child become easily sidetracked when given directions?

Intensity: is in reference to a child’s energy response, whether positive or negative.

  • Does your infant respond loudly and strongly to everything?
  • Is your child dramatic and shows strong emotions?
  • Or does your child just get quiet when upset?

Regularity: refers to a child’s biological clock that determines things like appetite and sleep.

  • Does your child get hungry or tired at predictable times?
  • Or do you never know when your child will be hungry or decide to sleep?

Sensory Threshold: related to how sensitive your child is to physical sensations. It is determined by your child’s response to stimulation of things like sound, taste, touch, and temperature.

  • Does your child react positively or negatively to certain sounds?
  • Does your infant startle easily?
  • Is your child a picky eater or will he eat anything?
  • Does your child like certain types of clothing?

Approach/Withdrawal: explains your child’s usual response to strangers or new situations.

  • Does your child eagerly approach new situations?
  • Does your infant love everyone or is she terrified of strangers?
  • Do new people terrify your child?

Adaptability: relates to how easily your child can adapt to changes in their lives.

  • Does your child have a hard time with changes in routine?
  • Does she take a long time to adjust to new situations?
  • Is it easy for your child to transition from activity to activity?

Persistence: is how long a child will continue to work on an activity even when it is difficult.

  • Does your child quickly move on when the activity is difficult?
  • Does he react strongly when interrupted?
  • Is she able to wait to have her needs met?

Mood: is how the child reacts to the world, whether in a primarily positive or negative way.

  • Does your child focus on the positive?
  • Is she generally happy?
  • Or does he focus on the negative?
  • Is your child usually serious?

Look for upcoming blogs on determining if your child has an easy or difficult temperatment and nurturing your child’s temperament.

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About Teresa McEntire

Teresa McEntire grew up in Utah the oldest of four children. She currently lives in Kuna, Idaho, near Boise. She and her husband Gene have been married for almost ten years. She has three children Tyler, age six, Alysta, four, and Kelsey, two. She is a stay-at-home mom who loves to scrapbook, read, and of course write. Spending time with her family, including extended family, is a priority. She is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and currently works with the young women. Teresa has a degree in Elementary Education from Utah State University and taught 6th grade before her son was born. She also ran an own in-home daycare for three years. She currently writes educational materials as well as blogs for Families.com. Although her formal education consisted of a variety of child development classes she has found that nothing teaches you better than the real thing. She is constantly learning as her children grow and enjoys sharing that knowledge with her readers.