Learn how to encourage a healthy development of your child’s personality.
WORDS DR NICOLA DAVIES
Whoever your child may be, parenting plays a key role in shaping their personality.
Despite observing certain traits in your children, it’s important not to place too many labels on them. Labeling them as ‘the cranky one’ or ‘the friendly one’ often influences their development as they begin to see themselves in the way they have been described. This limits their potential to develop a personality fitting of their own needs and desires.
Know Your Child
Parents can engage calm babies by playing music or indulging in physical activity. Children who show intense emotions can be exposed to soothing sounds and lighting to calm them down. If you have a sensitive child, you should learn to read the signals that might lead to a tantrum. Once you identify these situations, you can start to avoid them. This does not mean removing all stimulation from your child’s life but finding ways to help them adapt to them slowly. Soothing them with rocking and cuddling when they are exposed to difficult situations might also help.
Handle Bad Moods with Care
For children who get easily frustrated, parents can redirect them to a different activity and resume the same activity when the child has calmed down.
To handle a moody infant, hold your child’s ear close to your heartbeat.
Since your child has been listening to it since being in the womb,
the rhythm offers a sense of safety.
Give them a Sense of Comfort
Children who are averse to changes in their environment can be given a favourite toy or item (e.g. blanket) to comfort themselves. Parents of children who seem to adapt to changes without any problems should, however, be mindful of exposing their child to a sufficient variety of stimuli.
Remember to have Downtime
If your child is active, encourage exploration and physical activity. However, at the end of the day, have some downtime with soothing music, story reading, or a gentle massage. A mellow child, on the other hand, may need to be directed to physical activity.
Parents of a shy child can expose them to a variety of people and situations while at the same time being mindful of the child’s comfort and pace, being there to help them with the process.
Children who are social and get along with others easily can be
given time to play with others but also encouraged to spend some time
in solo, imaginative play.
Research suggests a link between infant behaviour and later personality. Although early traits of children have an impact on their adult personality and behaviour, their early experiences also shape who they become. Therefore, it is imperative that we make a conscious effort to identify the personality of our child as early as possible and engage in activities that will nurture their unique traits further.