Baby’s Temperament

Every baby’s temperament is unique. It is affected by both genetic and environmental factors. You can understand more about your baby’s temperament by observing the following aspects in your baby.

Physiological rhythm
e.g. sleep and bowel patterns

Regular Or Irregular

Activity level

Quiet Or Active

Acceptance of novelty
e.g. time in accepting new events or people

Fast Or Slow

Emotional control

Stable, cheerful Or Changeable in mood, irritable

Sociability
e.g. getting along with people

Enthusiastic Or Shy

Physiological rhythm
e.g. sleep and bowel patterns

Or Regular
Irregular

Activity level

Or Quiet
Active

Acceptance of novelty
e.g. time in accepting new events or people

Or Fast
Slow

Emotional control

Or Stable, cheerful
Changeable in mood, irritable

Sociability
e.g. getting along with people

Or Enthusiastic
Shy

Temperament can be crudely categorized into 3 types: easy, slow to warm up and difficult. If you want to know which type your baby resembles, and how you can interact with him, check out the following chart:

Type

Easy

Smiling bear

Sample Characteristics

  • Follows regular routines in eating and sleep
  • Adjusts to new things and environment easily
  • Can be soothed easily
  • Always stays cheerful

Ways of interaction

  • Although your baby is easy to care, do not forget to show him your attention.
  • Talk to your baby and give him encouragement.

Slow to warm up

Shy bear

Sample Characteristics

  • Regular in eating and sleep routines
  • Resists to accept new things but seldom intense in reactions
  • Avoids strangers
  • Clings to you and withdraws when facing new events
  • Less withdrawn as he adapts to new things slowly

Ways of interaction

  • Soothe your baby patiently
  • Let him accept novelty gradually at his own pace. e.g. don’t push your baby too much to ask him to interact with visitors or to take new solid food

Difficult

Bear throwing a tantrum

Sample Characteristics

  • Not regular in eating and sleep routines
  • Attention seeking
  • Very active
  • Hard to adjust to new food or events
  • Very sensitive to external stimuli e.g. light, sound and other sensual stimuli, gets irritated and cries very easily
  • Cries easily when meeting unfamiliar people and environments

Ways of interaction

  • Try to accept your baby’s temperament
  • Prevent him from getting too excited
  • Try to calm your baby down such as by hugging him, carrying him on your chest, talking to him, rocking him gently or taking him for a stroll.
  • Let him feel you are there to protect and readily give him support

*The above chart shows only a crude categorization of baby’s temperament. Some babies may not show all the characteristics and some may have characteristics of mixed types.

Baby’s temperament can be affected by his environment in early life. Your gentle loving care and acceptance towards your baby may have gradual moulding effect on his temperament and promote his affection towards you. Remember, conflicts and stresses arise from your interactions with your baby will impair the relationship between you two.

If taking care of your baby makes you feel exhausted, you need a rest. You should ask someone to take care of your baby for a while, or if you can’t find a baby-sitter, leave your baby alone in a safe place and take a rest in another room to recharge yourself. It is important for you to look after yourself as well as looking after your baby and family.

Support from family and friends