Behavioral Traits in Infants
Personality theorists attribute certain enduring traits to heredity, passed down for generations 1. It is believed that there are behavioral traits exhibited as early as infancy, which will follow a child throughout his life. Certain environmental factors can make a difference as well, but within the first few months of your baby’s life, you might be able to recognize the characteristics which will remain with him.
The first enduring personality trait to be on the lookout for is whether your baby is calm or active 12. You can easily assess this based on how he interacts with the world around him. Is he happy cooing up at you from his swing, or does he need to be kicking and moving to be having any fun? According to “What to Expect” babies with a higher activity level may not sleep as much or behave as well, but they are quick to learn new things 1.
Some babies are born with a perpetual smile, while others are more likely to scowl at you every time you try to make them laugh. It is easy to think you are doing something wrong if you have a baby with a more serious disposition, but try to remember this is likely just part of how she is built. You will not be able to alter your baby’s disposition, any more than you could her eye color.
Whether or not your baby adheres to a regular schedule can present a glimpse of what your future with her may look like. Some babies resist routines, while others fall right into them. “What to Expect” suggests gently coaxing your baby into a flexible schedule if she doesn’t seem to adhere to one naturally 1.
The ability to adapt to change is a behavioral trait that can be assessed early on. How does your baby adjust when you deviate from his schedule or travel somewhere new? Easygoing babies are more likely to go with the flow, now and in the future. If you have a baby who has a harder time with change, however, try to stick to your schedule when possible and introduce only small variations with time.
When upset or angry, some babies will make sure you know there is a problem, while others may barely let out a cry. Babies who protest loudly to each and every disturbance may be exhibiting an intensity which will endure with them. According to “What to Expect”, keeping note of what upsets your infant and avoiding those things in the future will help to keep these tantrums at bay 1.
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