Your baby has a temperament. Temperament can make a person
behave in a certain way. For example, one baby may cry and hide at the
sight of a large animal. Another baby may be cautious and interested. And a
third may be fearless and try to play with the animal right away. The first
temperament is sometimes called “slow-to-warm-up.” You may hear the
second called “adaptable.” The third is often called “feisty.” Some babies
combine these three temperaments—being shy sometimes and adaptable or
feisty at other times. Knowing your baby’s temperament will help you help
Some babies are shy. They turn away from new people. They do not adapt to
change quickly. Let your baby take the lead in new situations. Encourage
strangers not to get right in your baby’s face and force eye contact. Avoid
loud outbursts. These may be frightening to a shy baby. Introduce new
Some babies are relaxed and easygoing. They are eager to explore new
places and things. They respond quickly to change. They can often calm
themselves in times of stress. These babies are likely to be sound sleepers
and eager eaters.
Some babies are strong willed and intense. They find change distressing.
They react strongly to new events and situations. They need a regular
routine for eating, sleeping and outings. They sometimes need extra
physical contact with you. Whatever the temperament, your job is clear.
Identify and respect your baby’s temperament. Then you can support his growth, confidence and abilities.
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