Sneak Peek: The role of temperament in child development and parenting is sometimes overlooked. Understanding your child’s temperamental tendencies can be eye-opening.
If you have more than one child or have even interacted with more than one child, you know that each child is wonderfully unique. Part of understanding each child’s uniqueness is considering the role of temperament in child development.
Although the science of children’s temperament has been around for decades, we continue to learn more and more each year about the important role of temperament in child development. The classic study that created categories of children’s temperamental characteristics was conducted over 50 years ago. Today, researchers have refined these categories slightly but still consider many of the same factors when assessing temperament.
Based on these factors, I put together a temperament quiz for parents to take to get a simple, quick insight into their child’s temperament. You can take that Temperament Quiz at your convenience. Below are the 3 temperamental categories from that quiz. (Note: this quiz and categories are for informational purposes only. They are not designed for research or diagnostic purposes.)
Categories of Temperament in Child Development
Children with intense/excitable temperamental characteristics tend to approach life with zeal and big emotions.
These children are prone to intense emotional reactions (both positive and negative).
Kids with these temperamental characteristics tend to be super active and like sports or other high-energy activities.
These kids tend to approach new situations or settings with interest and fearlessness.
Children with these characteristics often need help learning to manage their big emotions. You can guide them by modeling appropriate responses and remaining calm, even if they are not.
These children may also need guidance in learning to focus on one task at a time. Sometimes they tend to bounce from one activity to the next due to boredom.
Children with moderately intense/excitable temperamental characteristics tend to approach life with excitement and emotion.
These children are can have intense emotional reactions (both positive and negative), but not in every situation.
Kids with these temperamental characteristics tend to be fairly active and enjoy a lot of movement.
These kids tend to approach new situations or settings with cautious interest and thoughtfulness.
Children with these characteristics may need help learning to manage big emotions, especially when overstimulated. You can guide them by modeling appropriate responses and remaining calm, even if they are not.
These children are usually fairly skilled in staying focused on a task but might need some guidance if distracted.
Children with cautious/easygoing temperamental characteristics tend to approach caution and thoughtfulness.
These children are may exhibit less intense emotional reactions outwardly but feel emotions deeply inside.
Kids with these temperamental characteristics tend to be less active and prefer lower-energy activities like reading or crafts.
These kids tend to approach new situations or settings with thoughtful interest and a bit of wariness.
Children with these characteristics often need help learning to face new experiences in their own way. You can guide them by giving them options and strategies for facing fears. However, it is also important to listen to their needs if they insist that they are not comfortable with certain highly stimulating situations.
These children may also need guidance in learning to cope with deep-seated emotions in healthy ways and not “bottling up” feelings. Some children may not express emotions in vocal ways but still feel deeply.
Learning more about your child’s temperament can be a game-changer in your parenting life. By understanding your child better, you can meet their need easier and learn to see their behavior in a whole new light.