A black-and-white image of a smiley baby held gently in an adult's hands against a black background. The baby appears content and relaxed. The photo, taken by Denver Newborn Photographer Christina Dooley, has her name written near the bottom right corner. Image by Denver Newborn Photographer Christina Dooley Photography.

Understanding Your Baby’s Temperament

Each and every child has their own way of approaching and reacting to the world, known as temperament. Knowing your child’s temperament can help you predict their reactions and behavior, as well as better understand them.

Why is temperament important?
Your child’s temperament directs the way they interact with the world around them. A more cautious child likely will have different reactions than a child who is outgoing and eager to try out new situations. Understanding your baby’s temperament allows you to recognize patterns in their behavior, which can help you be a more effective parent.

Can temperament change?
Experiences and interactions with other people, especially you and your partner, will shape your child’s temperament. You can help your baby adapt to unfamiliar situations and grow more comfortable with change. You should also keep in mind that sometimes your child will do something that will catch you completely by surprise. Those surprises are one of the best parts of being a parent.

How much do parents affect temperament?
Your expectations of your child can have an effect on how they react to the world. Think about what qualities you want your child to have and how your expectations might influence your baby’s behavior.

What’s the best temperament for a child to have?
Temperaments are like personalities—there’s no one better than the other. Some may be more of a challenge to understand and deal with, but every child deserves to be understood and treated with love and caring. As a parent, it’s essential to accept your child for who they are and do your best to understand their feelings.

How do I explain my child’s temperament to others?
As a parent, it’s your job to be your child’s champion. Help other people understand your child’s temperament. Your goal isn’t to change their temperament but to help them learn to make the most of it. Support them in the areas where they need support and teach them to value their strengths. Don’t be afraid to explain to others how your child uniquely views and reacts to the world, so they can better understand how to interact with your child. 

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