My child has personality

Is your child the life and soul of the party or a serial skirt-clinger? Understanding your child’s temperament will help you to anticipate their needs and deal effectively with discipline, sleep and development issues.

Parents need to support, not lead, their children, in order to encourage independence. The first step towards this is personality typing. Have fun identifying your little one’s traits, but be wary of stereotyping them.

 The Angel


Gentle but gregarious, they love socialising and will probably talk early. They almost certainly slept and ate well from birth and hardly ever cried apart from when teething or ill. Although quite easy-going, they need lots of interaction in addition to independent play. While laid-back and relaxed, they will always make their needs known. When denied something, they can easily refocus and quickly forget to throw a tantrum. They’ll follow rules if you make them clear and would rather have your approval than test the limits. Although they go with the flow, they need regular one-on-one interaction and routine. They may find a rigid schedule with multi-activities too energetic, so create a balance between solitary play at home and dates with a friend or play group. A short, gentle sleep routine works well, as they typically need less winding down than most.

 The Textbook

 The Textbook

Full of energy and generally at ease in social situations but neither the obvious leader nor the shrinking violet. They prefer familiar territory and people, and may be nervous on their first day at nusery or when meeting an unfamiliar adult. They may cling a little or be shy, but quickly find their feet and interact confidently with others. As they grow, they will need interesting toys, regular outings and at least one little friend with whom to make mud pies and play hide-and-seek. Unable to amuse themselves for very long periods they may become fractious and attention seeking when left alone with toys, so at least one new and interesting activity per day is a must. Textbook types love routine, but they will fall in with your plans as long as you prepare well. Sleep issues will range from broken nights to blissful sleep-throughs. They will push boundaries and test limits, but won’t throw tantrums every time they’re parted from a favourite toy or activity. One or two stern warnings are usually enough to distract them from negative behaviour.



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Sensitive and deeply thoughtful, they live in their own world much of the time and don’t like being jolted out of it. Often labelled “shy”, they keep to themselves and have difficulty sharing. Forcing them into independence is a bad idea. Not only will they resist, but may decide to retreat even further into their shell. They are fine in social situations if allowed to sit quietly and observe the action. They need a predictable, fairly rigid bedtime and nap routine from early on. Knowing what’s coming next is vitally important, as it keeps the world safe and familiar. Anything new may cause sleep disturbances, tantrums or withdrawal, and they will take longer than most to master house rules. Focus on positive outcomes and be patient as they get their minds around your requests and expectations. Once comfortable, they will toe the line, so the effort is worth it.



Physical, they are inclined to tantrum throwing and reckless behaviour. Born socialites and adventurers, they are extremely curious about life. Into everything and always on the go, they climb couches, stalk the cat and generally wreak havoc at parties. They are keenly intelligent and yearn to learn and grow. Robust, tiring activities are excellent to help burn off nervous energy. Ditch the fancy, jingly toys in favour of large boxes filled with safe odds and ends. Naps and meal times should not be disrupted as their positive, healthy energy quickly degenerates if they get hungry or tired. Their over-enthusiastic nature requires clear boundaries and firm discipline. Be clear about what they can and can’t do, but always provide a suitably energetic alternative to keep the peace. Sleep may be a battle of wills, as they don’t want to miss a thing. A long, regular wind-down routine is important, as they need to physically and mentally switch off before contemplating even a moment’s shut-eye. Natural leaders, they have great stamina and are keen on all sorts of interesting activities.


Wise, resourceful and independent they know what they want and when. They typically like playing alone, but become frustrated if a toy doesn’t work or if interrupted. Very intense, they prefer to do things their way. They enjoy playing with other children, but can easily fly off the handle if provoked. Patient, regular mediation is important, to teach them how to deal with social distress. They may be prone to biting, pushing or hitting, so repetitive, calm and firm discipline is important. Becoming angry or forcing your will on this child is pointless. Negotiate within reason and be a little lenient about routine, as Grumpy souls won’t be forced to sleep, eat or brush their teeth strictly by the clock. Observe their natural sleep and eating schedules and form a routine around them. This way, they feel “in control” and won’t fall back on stubbornness so often. As they grow older, Grumpy types display remarkable creativity and insight, becoming natural problem-solvers.

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