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By understanding your child's temperament, you can help to prevent and avoid challenging situations and obstacles. There are several factors to consider when determining which type of temperament your child has. Some of these factors include activity level, adaptability, and attention span. There are three main types of children: the "easy" child, the "difficult" child, and the "slow-to-warm-up" child.

What Is Temperament?

Temperament is the genetic part of a child's personality. During a newborn's first days of life, you can actually see pieces of their personality already and, believe it or not, it most likely will not change a whole lot over the course of their lifetime.
There are nine factors that go into figuring out the type of temperament your child has. Those factors are the baby's:
  • Activity level
  • Tendency to embrace routines or "regularity"
  • Initial reaction to new things or "approach/withdraw"
  • Adaptability
  • Sensitivity to sound and sight
  • Intensity of reaction
  • Mood
  • Distractibility
  • Attention span.

Understanding Temperament -- The Three Types of Children

Based on how a child demonstrates each of these factors, experts Alexander Thomas and Stella Chess have determined that there are three types of children:
The easy child -- This child has regular eating, sleeping, and potty cycles; a positive approach to new situations; and deals with bothersome situations with little fuss. They handle change well and are in a good mood most of the time.
The difficult child -- This child has an unpredictable eating, sleeping, and potty pattern. They generally approach new situations negatively and usually with loud crying or tantrums, and are typically in a bad mood.
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