Most toddlers display a confusing array of personality traits in a day – mischievous when they’re throwing toys, boisterous when they’re letting off steam and shy when they’re tired.
But overall, you should be able to tell what your child’s predominant personality trait is. What might not be so clear, however, is how to get the very best from them.
So here is a guide to managing your toddler’s personality type.
Where does he get all that energy from? He’s up at dawn, singing, playing and tearing around. He won’t lie down for a nap and keeps going until supper. You can’t keep up with him. Before he’s finished one game, he’s on to the next, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.
Don’t be tempted to talk about his boisterousness in a negative way. Instead, give him the right opportunities to work off his excess energy.
- Install garden toys and equipment to encourage him to go outside more often.
- Take him to the park or local scenic spots with a football and a kite.
- Don’t write off books because you’re sure he won’t concentrate – instead, build 10-15 minutes of reading time into every day or evening – even if you have to break it up.
Visitors arrive and she takes refuge behind your leg where she clings on for dear life. Another child takes a toy straight out of her hand and Charlotte doesn’t grab it back, instead she looks to you, lips quivering. She’s clingy, too, and needs to know you’re there.
Did you know that it’s normal for your toddler to go through clingy stages as she learns more about the big and uncertain world she lives in? So don’t admonish her for wanting to be with you 24/7.
- Don’t use the phrase ‘she’s shy’ to people to explain your child’s behaviour.
- Let him cling to you if that’s what she wants to do – be there for her. Soon she’ll let go and take a few tentative steps away from you. Knowing you’re there will help her to feel secure.
- Build her confidence – tell her that the brick tower she created is fabulous and pin her drawings up in a prominent place so she knows you’re proud of her.
There’s no stopping her. She starts conversations with strangers in supermarket queues, tells an overweight woman she’s fat and seems years ahead of her peers during playtime.
Confidence is seen as a positive trait in toddlers, but other mums might look upon your child as tactless or thoughtless when she’s playing with their less flamboyant little angel.
- Promote generosity and friendliness in your child. When she’s old enough, teach her that it’s nice to show another toddler how to dress a dolly.
- Discourage your little one from divulging family information to strangers in the supermarket, such as: ‘We’re going on holiday tomorrow’.
She can be a real little madam and because she’s seen an older sister or mum show everyone the ropes, she does it, too. But she’s still too young to understand fairness, so if she doesn’t get her own way there could be a tantrum – watch out!
At times you might have to intervene to teach your child the right way to treat other children.
- Don’t let her boss her younger, or older, siblings about. Make sure you’re fair at home so that your bossy child doesn’t always have her say, and the other child gets the blame.
- And don’t let her boss you – kids, yes, even toddlers, can be very manipulative when they don’t want their dinner but would like some chocolate.
When you turn your back, Max has found some matches, opened and emptied a cupboard, sprinkled cereal on your sofa or smeared shaving foam on his own face. To him it’s fun – to you, it’s a license to rant and rave.
Most of a toddler’s mischievousness probably happens when your attention is elsewhere. They quickly learns that when they do something you label ‘naughty’, they get your undivided attention again.
- Keep a close eye on them and don’t leave them alone for long periods unsupervised.
- Make sure they learn how to tidy up their mess – turn it into a game if you have to.
- Take extra care with products around the home which you don’t want them (or any toddler) to have access to.
You don’t give in, or something doesn’t quite go her way – then there’s a silence as her lip quivers, her eyes fill with tears and the mother of all tantrums occurs. She flails her arms, kicks her legs, turns bright red, and horror of horror, screams the place down.
Every toddler has the odd temper tantrum, but some toddlers have them more frequently – and they know that they’re a highly effective way of ensuring they get what they want. If temper tantrums are a problem with your toddler, try the following:
- Don’t give in, or you’ll see a repeat performance. Keep calm.
- Be there for your toddler; make sure she doesn’t hurt herself, and cuddle her close to calm her down.
- If you know that a temper tantrum is imminent, try a distraction technique. Either take her outside or to another room, or give her an object, toy, or book to hold.
- Talk about it afterwards, but not in a scolding way. You could say something like, ‘There was no need for that, was there? You got all upset. Next time, tell Mummy what’s upsetting you and we’ll sort it out’.
He’s calm and collected, plays nicely with other kids and doesn’t cause you any anxiety. But you worry other kids might trample over his easy-going nature and take advantage.
- Teach him about playing fairly, then he’ll realise he has a place in the goings-on too.
- Take advantage of his laid-back nature by investing time and energy reading to him and chatting with him to encourage his literacy skills.
- Encourage a wide circle of playmates with different temperaments, so his friends aren’t all more outspoken and/or boisterous than him
– Article supplied by Mother & Baby magazine