We have been discussing temperament in children. Do you wonder how two children can come from the same family in the same home environment and act completely different? I have heard both parents and caregivers state this amazing fact. We know from research that temperament affects how a child is cared for and how a child is cared for affects temperament. Considering a child’s temperament as he goes through developmental stages can make a huge difference in how emotionally and relationally healthy a child will become. What can help you stay on track?
6 Principles for dealing with stage-related and temperament issues
Universal principles exist to help caregivers adapt developmental and temperament information to the needs of infants and young children. Find six below.
- Spend time observing the child and relate his or her behavior to what you know about each child’s developmental level.
- Set up the environment and child’s schedule to accommodate the child’s developmental and temperament characteristics.
- Try to learn about the child’s temperament characteristics and any physical characteristics that may be contributing to his/her behavior style.
- Spend time changing the negative labels into positive ones that reflect the child’s developmental stage and temperament type.
- Identify behaviors that trigger anger and anxiety in yourself and see how you are affected by your own temperament characteristics.
- Identify and adopt strategies that can help you adapt to the child’s special temperament characteristics.
Caregivers who are intentional about how they nurture and relate to children should strive to be knowledgeable, observational and sensitive to the children in their care. Understanding the number of issues related to temperament and stages of growth is essential as it builds the foundation to the approaches that we will take towards discipline, communication and the everyday issues in this relationship.
I will be taking time in my next few posts to review and discuss how each principle can enhance a caregiver’s capability to be aware and equipped to better support the children within their responsibility. Stay tuned as we continue to discuss temperament, its integration and impact with children and caregivers.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network
Source: Information taken from Pathways to Competence, Encouraging Healthy Social and Emotional Development in Young Children, Second Edition by Sarah Landy, p 42.