By the time your child turns age 2, you have a pretty good idea what his personality is like, or at least know his temperament in certain situations. Experts have identified three main types of toddler personality: easy or flexible, difficult or challenging, and slow to warm up or shy. Each comes with a distinct set of traits and characteristics.
Knowing which one your child falls into can help you fine tune your parenting strategy to suit your little one. So, go through the different child temperaments and learn what discipline technique might work best on your tot. (Note that these are broad categories -- none will paint a complete picture of your unique and one-of-a-kind child):
1. Easy or flexible About half of toddlers fall into this category, says pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp, author, and creator of The Happiest Toddler on the Block. The easy or flexible child has a stable and positive attitude. Children in this category can be described as “easy going” -- they respond reasonably well to change and adapt quickly to new people. “When encountering a frustrating situation, he usually does so with relatively little anxiety,” explains HealthyChildren.org, a site run by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Children in this category can make taking care of them a breeze. They find contentment in sitting by himself -- they can entertain themselves for extended periods of time. It's easy enough to let him be on his own, but you should take care to set aside parent-child bonding time.
2. Shy or slow to warm up Around 15 percent of toddlers fall under this category. You may notice that a shy baby stays longer in the “nangingilala” phase and clings to mom or dad when handed over to unfamiliar relatives. They can be a little fussy too. They might get frustrated with small details like the texture of their clothing, for example.
Shy children can be less active and are often resistant to change and new situations. A shy child may be a little hesitant to participate, but he is more inclined to join a new game when he gets to know his playmates and familiarizes himself with how the game is played. Words to describe toddlers in this category are sensitive, mindful and gentle.
Parenting strategy: With his sensitivity, the parent must be more considerate and thoughtful as well. Harsh criticisms, embarrassment, ridicule and rejection will be too much. So, try not to lose your cool with your child when other people are around. Instead, when your child does not want to participate, take a deep breath and let him take his time. Praise him to encourage him to try new things. Try setting up a reward system as well when he needs motivation.
3. Difficult or challenging About one in 10 toddlers will be a difficult or challenging child. These kids may be more prone to temper tantrums than others and can be hard to please. They are intense with their emotions, meaning they can be very hyper when they’re happy and very explosive when they’re mad or sad. Their reactions can be very dramatic!
Challenging toddlers can also be impatient, impulsive, and unpredictable. But they also like to be active and parents will be wise to use this to their advantage. “These kids need to burn off their energy and work through their moods. They also need firm structure to keep them safe and stable,” says WebMD.
Parenting strategy: First and foremost: patience, patience, patience. Challenging toddlers can be difficult to care for. They often result to acting out to get what they want so that effective disciplining techniques may involve simply ignoring their temper tantrums. Try setting rules and consequences as well to provide structure and reduce behavior problems. Rewards may work well to keep a challenging child’s interest and sway him to follow instructions.