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.
What is your toddler’s personality type?
Where do they get all that energy from? They’re up at dawn, singing, playing and tearing around. They won’t lie down for a nap and they keep going until supper. You can’t keep up with them. Before they are finished one game, they’re on to the next, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.
Don’t be tempted to talk about your child’s boisterousness in a negative way. Instead, give them the right opportunities to work off their excess energy.
- Install garden toys and equipment to encourage your toddler to go outside more often.
- Take them to the park or local scenic spots with a football and a kite.
- Don’t write off books because you’re sure they 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 your toddler takes refuge behind your leg where they clings on for dear life. Another child takes a toy straight out of their hand and your child doesn’t grab it back, instead they look to you, lips quivering. They’re clingy, too, and need to know you’re there.
Did you know it’s normal for your toddler to go through clingy stages as they learn more about the big and uncertain world they live in? So don’t admonish them for wanting to be with you 24/7.
- Don’t use the phrase ‘s/he’s shy’ to people to explain your child’s behaviour.
- Let them cling to you if that’s what they want to do – be there for them. Soon they’ll let go and take a few tentative steps away from you. Knowing you’re there will help them to feel secure.
- Build their confidence – tell them that the brick tower they created is fabulous and pin up their drawings in a prominent place so they knows you’re proud of them.
There’s no stopping a confident toddler. They start conversations with strangers in supermarket queues, tell overweight women they’re fat and seem years ahead of their 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 they’re playing with their less flamboyant little angel.
- Promote generosity and friendliness in your child. When they’re old enough, teach them that it’s nice to show another toddler how to do things, rather than take over.
- Discourage your little one from divulging family information to strangers in the supermarket, such as: ‘We’re going on holiday tomorrow’.
A toddler can be very bossy – especially if they’ve watched older siblings or parents tell each other what to do. But they’re still too young to understand fairness, so if they don’t get their 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 them boss younger, or older, siblings about. Make sure you’re fair at home so your bossy child doesn’t always have their say, and the other child gets the blame.
- And don’t let a bossy toddler 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, your toddler has found some matches, opened and emptied a cupboard, sprinkled cereal on your sofa or smeared shaving foam on their face. To them 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 their way – then there’s a silence as their lip quivers, their eyes fill with tears and the mother of all tantrums occurs. They flails their arms, kick their legs, turn 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 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 they don’t hurt herself, and cuddle them close to calm them down.
- If you know that a temper tantrum is imminent, try a distraction technique. Either take them outside or to another room, or give them 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’.
An easy-going toddler is calm and collected, plays nicely with other kids and doesn’t cause you any anxiety. But you worry other kids might trample over their easy-going nature and take advantage.
- Teach them about playing fairly, then they’ll realise they have a place in the goings-on too.
- Take advantage of their laid-back nature by investing time and energy reading to them and chatting with them to encourage literacy skills.
- Encourage a wide circle of playmates with different temperaments, so their friends aren’t all more outspoken and/or boisterous than them.
– supplied by Mother & Baby magazine