The parenting and child development experts at Invest in Kids (a national Canadian charity organization aimed at helping parents improve their parenting skills) note that it's important for you to recognize your child's basic temperament in order to respond appropriately.
Using the Comfort, Play and Teach technique – Invest in Kids' research-based approach to parenting – there are distinct ways you can nurture both your child and their unique temperament.
Comfort, Play and Teach transforms everyday parent-child routines and activities into teachable moments that actively support a child's healthy social, emotional and intellectual development. It shows parents the developmental link between their actions and their child's responses. Here are some personality examples and situational tips you can use:
For the Timid Baby (Birth to 18 Months)
With a timid child, introduce new activities slowly and allow time for him to build up confidence.
If you do this: Comfort
Plan to visit with someone your child is meeting for the first time in your own home or at a park or other place familiar to your child.
Your child will: Feel more secure as he gets to know this new person in familiar territory. Being surrounded by his favourite or recognizable things will help him adapt more readily to a new person and soothe him more quickly should he become upset.
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Engage your highly active child in activities that will keep her attention for long periods of time.
If you do this: Play
Visit a local park with a range of activities to enjoy, like climbing structures, different types of swings, seesaws, sandbox, playing field for running with kites, playing soccer or tag, a bike or walking path , etc.
Your child will: Put the gross motor skills (balance, climbing, walking backwards, etc.) she has already developed to good use and practice new ones that are emerging. This is a great way to have her burn off some excess energy.
For the easygoing preschooler (3 1/2 to 5 Years)
If your child's temperament is easygoing, he may follow more than lead and may not always tell you how he feels.
If you do this: Teach
Plan to take your child on a special outing. Discuss the options with him – visit a museum, science centre, go on a nature walk, etc. Ask him open-ended questions about his decision, and later, on the outing, ask what he sees, likes and thinks about his surroundings, for example What do you like about this exhibit?
Your child will: Use decision-making skills and exchange points of view with you about the options before him, rather than just going with the flow. Open-ended questions encourage him to tell you how he feels, using words beyond "yes" and "no" from his growing vocabulary.
Knowing and understanding your child’s temperament helps you tailor your expectations of what your child can and will do. It also helps you to better help your child realize their full potential. According to Invest in Kids, when you comfort, play with and teach your child every day, you open a world of possibilities for you both.
This content was created by the child development and parenting experts who
developed www.parents2parents.ca. Visit the site to learn more about the ages and stages your young child is experiencing and to share in the parenting journey of other parents just like you.
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