From an early age, you’ll realise that your baby's personality is unique and over the years, his personality will further develop and shape the person he’ll become.
WORDS DR NICOLA DAVIES
Children’s personality characteristics can also be described in terms of eight domains:
Activity: Some infants are always on the go and others are more content and laid back.
Regularity: Some infants require a structured schedule, while others are unpredictable.
Adaptability: Some children handle the change in their environment or a change of caregiver very well, while others are more sensitive and have a harder time adjusting.
Approach/withdrawal: Some infants are comfortable with other people right from the beginning, while some are shy and may resist unfamiliar people and situations.
Sensitivity: Some infants fuss at the slightest of provocations (noise, too many people, dirty diaper), while some remain unaffected by changes in their environment.
Distractibility: Some infants are easy to soothe, while others won’t calm down until they get exactly what they want.
Disposition: Some infants are happy by nature and may wake up with a smile; others may whimper and whine about the slightest inconvenience.
Persistence: Some children like trying a new skill multiple times until they have mastered it, while others become frustrated, cry out loud, or smash things.
Being able to identify where your child sits along the spectrum of these eight factors can help you decide the best ways to interact with them in order to help their personality develop.
Decoding the Personality of Your Child
To decode your child’s personality, it is important to observe their day-to-day behaviour and emotional reactions. When do they become fussy or cry? Do they show initiative to explore or do they want to keep to themselves? Observe if your child is playful and inquisitive, or curious about exploring. Do they smile at anyone who picks them up, or do they show a lot of stranger anxiety? Answering these questions will help you understand your child’s personality in terms of the eight domains described above.
Once you are well-versed with their personality, you can change your reactions
and behaviour to adapt to their needs.
For example, if your child is highly sensitive and shy when it comes to encouraging interaction with others, it will be better to arrange an activity that a sensitive child can cope with – maybe playing on the beach with one other child, rather than in a noisy room crowded with many children. Such knowledge will also enable you to work towards further developing your child’s personality.