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Children's Temperament Styles: Implications for Elementary School Adjustment


Theories of temperament began with the New York Longitudinal Studyby Thomas, Chess, et.al. in the 1950's and 60's. Temperament is how we respond to our environment. An individual's temperament style can be observed in infancy and remains constant throughout the life span. For further reading on temperament styles in children, visit these great resource sites.

Difficult Temperaments
By Elaine Gibson at The Challenge of Difficult Children site. I have referred extensively to Elaine's site from this article. She explains temperament styles in great detail here and offers wonderful ideas for parents.

Temperament and Parenting
Parenting advice from B-DI publishers.

Look at the seven traits below and rate your child from 1 to 5 on each. Keep in mind that all points on the rating scale fall within the normal range, though you may see extremes in some traits in your child. Ratings on a trait give parents clues to potential difficulties with school adjustment. These difficulties are discussed, and some helpful strategies and links are provided.

Activity level: How active is the child? How long can he sit still? Does he fidget and move around?

Quiet 1...2...3...4...5 Active

The highly active child will naturally have an adjustment to make, even in kindergarten, where he will be expected to sit still for several periods during the day. Most active children can make this adjustment, but some children just can't seem to sit still. They are constantly fidgeting, raising their hand, getting up, touching other students, even knocking over the desk. This trait corresponds partially with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder but is not the only indicator. Talk with the teacher about the problem. Remember, this is his temperament. He's not doing it because he wants attention or to get in trouble. Perhaps he could be given extra opportunities for needed movement during the day - running errands for the teacher, passing out papers. Set up a behavioral plan with rewards for increasing amounts of time spent quietly at his desk. Staying in from recess should not be in the teacher's repertoire of consequences for this child.

More Temperament Styles

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