Your toddler's personality

Busy and boisterous

Toddler playing

How active is your child? Can it be hard to get them to sit still for a second, even to change their nappy? Do they charge through the day without a second to relax? Do they tend to act first and think later, and find it difficult to follow routines?

Tips and tricks

  • Provide lots of active games, toys and outside play to help channel your toddler’s energy.
  • Persevere with quiet activities, such as looking at a book. You may need to help your tot with learning to sit quietly. You could make up a game where they need to complete a task like finding all the times a character’s name or picture occurs, or underlining all the times ‘the’ appears for example.

Quiet and cautious

Toddler leaning on parent

Is your child happy to sit quietly and watch what’s going on? Do they sometimes prefer to stay in the background rather than being the centre of attention?

Tips and tricks

  • Build in some down time during the day when they can recharge their batteries in peace.
  • Tell them in advance if you’re going to noisy, busy places. You might want to get them their own rucksack with a few of their favourite things so they feel more comfortable and confident.

Patience can pay

Moddler and toddler baking

How long does your child continue trying to do something they find hard? Do they carry on until they’ve found the last piece to that jigsaw? Or do they abandon it and move onto something else?

Tips and tricks

  • Help your tot learn patience through games that involve taking turns – like board games that have a big sheet instead of a board, or activities such as baking where they have to wait to see the results of their efforts.
  • Show your child it is worth persisting by starting off with things you know they can do, such as helping to empty the washing machine, and praise them when they finish.
  • Offer lots of encouragement and let them know you believe they can complete things!

Heart on their sleeve

Toddler shouting

Does your little one react strongly and loudly to fairly minor events at times? Do they get really excited when they’re happy and cry loudly if they’re upset?

Tips and tricks

  • Kids whose emotions are out on the surface get a lot out of life but they can be exhausting. Build in some ‘me time’ after they’ve gone to bed.
  • Take their feelings seriously and give them chance to express themselves, through telling stories, dressing-up games and singing songs. Listen if they need to talk.

Full of life

Toddler on swing

Is your tot easily distracted? Can you calm them down if they are upset by offering them something else to do? Do they soon get bored? Do they find it hard to settle down to things that need concentration such as a jigsaw?

Tips and tricks

  • Learn to appreciate the positive side of their lively mind — for example it’s a bonus when you want to divert them from doing something you don’t want them to!
  • Help them complete a task if they need it, such as getting ready, to stop them getting sidetracked.
  • Keep instructions and tasks clear and simple, and tackle one thing at a time. (Split the activity into smaller steps.)

Impulsive and changeable

Toddler in playground

Do you find it easy to predict when your child is likely to feel hungry or tired or want to go to the toilet? Or are their habits all over the place?

Tips and tricks

  • Try to establish a clear routine with regular eating and sleeping times. Your child needs structure and boundaries to encourage them to organise their personal patterns.
  • Be patient if it takes them time to settle back to normal after an interruption to their routine such as a holiday, starting nursery or the birth of a new baby.

Sensitive moments

Toddler playing with lego

How sensitive is your child to sights, sounds, tastes and touch? Do they react — either positively or negatively — to particular sounds such as the washing machine or vacuum cleaner? Do they jump if something surprises them? Are they a choosy eater or will they eat anything?

Tips and tricks

  • Encourage your child to use their senses positively by providing them with paint and brushes, play dough and other sensory materials.
  • Be careful when buying clothes: a woolly jumper may just be too itchy for them.
  • Give them a variety of different foods but respect their tastes if they don’t like something.
Last updated: 17 October 2012
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