Behaviour and Temperament

Every baby and toddler is different . Many things affect their behaviour. It is important to be aware of your child's stage of development before trying to manage their behaviour.

Think about things that can lead to your child's challenging behaviour. Try to find things you can do to help stop it before it starts. Remember to focus on your child's behaviour and not on your child.

Stay calm. Remember that your child needs you to teach them how to cope the right way. You can do this by comforting them when they are sick, hurt, or upset. You are your child's role model.  

The age and stage of your child

Babies

Infants depend on their caregivers to meet all their needs. It is important to respond with love and understanding every time your baby needs you. Crying is their way to ask for help and comfort. When you respond to your baby's cries, it teaches them that you are there to meet their needs. When caregivers respond to their baby, it makes them feel secure. Try to learn your baby's different cries; this will guide you to find the best way to respond. 

Every baby is different and some babies cry more or less than other babies. You will get to know your baby's cries. Always, respond to your baby in a warm and sensitive way, and never shake your baby. You won't spoil your baby by responding to their needs and by comforting them. Feeling safe and secure is a baby's first step to learning self-regulation.

Younger Toddlers

At this age, your toddler may be fearful when separated from you, they are curious and like to explore. They begin testing the limits when doing so. They are learning how to say no and are too young to remember rules.

Older Toddlers

At this age, your toddler is becoming more independent. They can get frustrated when limits are set and they will show it. They do not know how to share and they love to use the word 'mine'.

Visit Best Start - The On Track Guide (PDF) for more information about how your child is developing.

You and your child's temperament

Temperament is a set of personality traits that you are born with. It can affect your reaction to people, situations and your environment. At different ages and stages it is important to know how your child's temperament affects their behaviour. This will allow you to adapt your parenting style to fit with your child's temperament (or needs).

It is also important to know your own temperament. This may help you understand how you react to your child.

For more information on temperament visit the Centre of Excellence.

What can affect your child's behaviour?

What can affect your child's behaviour?

Possible developmental delays

We know that babies and toddlers are all different and will develop at their own pace. But, it is important not to play "wait and see" or "they will grow out of it" with your child's development.

You can check if your child has delays by using the Looksee Checklist® (formerly Nipissing District Developmental Screen®-NDDS). It is a short and simple checklist review your child's growth and development at a specific age (up to 6 years old).

A delay in your child's development can affect their behaviour. Getting help early and connecting to the right services can help your child reach their full potential.

Ways to cope with challenging behaviour

You can't always prevent your child's challenging behaviour. Sometimes trying different things can help. Remember, children look up to you and want to be like you. They need you to teach and guide them to behave well.

Positive discipline teaches and guides children. It is part of a comforting family environment. It helps your child grow to be a happy, caring person. It helps with their self-esteem, respect for others, problem solving and other life skills.

These are some ideas to help guide you:

  • Redirect or distract your child away from the unwanted behaviour.
  • Use logical consequences to help your child understand the effects of their actions.
  • Encourage problem solving. Ask your child: What happened? Why did it happen? What can you do?
  • Reward positive behaviour. For example, by using stickers.

Remember, these will vary based on your child's age and stage, potential developmental delay and temperament.

For more information, visit the Centre of Excellence or Best Start: Children see children learn

Do you have more questions?

Contact Us