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Types of Infant Temperament

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Personal Development
Wordcount: 1467 words Published: 3rd Oct 2017

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1.0 Introduction

Temperament refers to a person’s characteristic modes of emotional and behavioral responding to environmental events. It is biologically based on heredity, neural and hormonal and it can affect our response to the environment. It’s also influenced over time by heredity from parents and experience. There are 3 types of temperament which is easy-going temperament, slow to warm up temperament and difficult temperament. Easy-going temperament babies are calm and relaxed; they are also seen as friendly and smiling happily. Slow to warm up temperament babies are shy and they take time to try new things as they do not like new situations. Difficult temperament babies are very emotional and get upset easily, they are unable to adapt to new environment and people. The 6 dimensions of individual differences in infant temperament as well as the influences of temperament are further discussed below.

2.0 Main body

2.1 Six Dimensions

Basically there are 6 different types of traits for infant temperament including fearful distress, irritable distress, positive effect, activity level, attention span and rhythmicity.

2.1.1 Fearful Distress

Fearful distress also means fearfulness and it refers to how they response when feel fear. The characteristic of fearful distress is wariness, distress and withdrawal in new situation. The positive example for babies is they won’t cry frequently when they feel scare but if is negative babies they will cry whenever they feel scare such as crying when parents leaving, when stranger get close to them or crying when receiving an injection. By the way, for positive thinking adult who are facing fearful distress they will try to overcome fearfulness and think it in positive way. Negative thinking adult who are facing fearful distress usually cannot sleep well at night because they always worrying. Some will get nervous, stomachache and get sweaty hands when facing fearful distress.

2.1.2 Irritable Distress

Irritable distress also means anger. The characteristic of irritable distress is fussiness, crying and showing distress when they cant get what they want. The positive irritable distress babies will not cry easily although they are angry but the negative irritable distress babies will cry and become fussiness when they can’t get what they want. The irritable distress for positive adult will keep calm, relax but negative irritable distress adult will easily get angry and become very impulse when something happened.

2.1.3 Positive Affect

Positive affect refers to frequency of smiling, laughing, willingness to approach other and to cooperate with them. Example for positive affect of positive baby is they will smile to others and waving their hands, opposite that the babies will cry when strangers appear next to them. The example for adult is they went to a training camp happily to meet new friends and have fun together. Negative adults do not like any new activities and they are likely to avoid themselves from meeting new people.

2.1.4 Activity Level

Activity Level is the amount of gross motor activity which by simple saying is how much an infant moves. For the example of high activity level baby is a baby kicking and moving often when changing their diapers and when they are sleeping. For low activity level baby is a baby does not moving when sleeping. The example for high activity level adult is they likes outdoors activities such as football, playing badminton or others sport games. For the low activity level adult is they like quiet environment, they will like indoor activities which is like reading, playing chess and drawing.

2.1.5 Attention Span

Attention span simply means that how long a child spending time focuses on objects or events that they are interested to. The example for the baby of have short attention span is crying in a short period after their parents carry them or sometimes they just realize that keep crying is not the way and stop crying immediately but if is long attention span baby is they can crying lout and keep crying when they want parents to carry them although their parents is carrying. The example for short attention span adult is they cannot sit in the long time. They often get up while they are doing something and them easily to give up. For the long attention span adult they do things very carefully and can sit in a long time.

2.1.6 Rhythmicity

Rhythmicity means that the regularity of bodily functions. Positive example for the rhythmicity baby is their eating and bowel movement time are regular, they will ask for food every few hours. Negative example is they will wake up easily and their bowel movement is different from every time. For positive rhythmicity adult, they go to sleep the same time on every night. Negative rhythmicity adult is they laying down on the bed but fall asleep in different time.

2.2 Influences on Temperament

There are several kinds of influence on temperament which can be divided into two different stages; before and after preschool period. Before preschool usually just influence by their parents as their temperament are passed down to their children naturally while after preschool bring in more influences such as environment the children are in such as their surroundings, friends or people they meet.

2.2.1 Before Preschool

Before preschool period, the main influence of temperament is the Hereditary Influence which by simply saying is the temperament passed down from the parents to their children genetically. Usually if the children are identical twins, there is a higher chance both of them having the same attitude and temperament. As for fraternal twins, the chances of having same personality and attitude are lower compared to identical twins. For normal siblings, they usually have different temperament and attitude from each other. If the parents have long attention span and high activity level then their kids will most likely to behave same likes the parents. Children’s IQ and EQ is actually all based on their parents as those are genetically passed down to them.

2.2.2 After Preschool

After the children are 3 years old, parents usually send their children to attend preschool class offered by kindergarten. As children start to attend classes from kindergarten they start to meet other children and teachers. After preschool period, there are some other influences on temperament instead of just hereditary influence which is environment influence. Children start to concern about their surroundings especially other children and their teachers; they like to have fun together with the children they like. As a result, they will start to learn their attitude and temperament in order to become friends with them. If the friend is a bully then they also will learn from them becoming a bully because they want to hang out with their friend. Children also will learn their teacher’s attitude and temperament as they like the teacher to teach them and they respect older people so if their teacher themselves show their bad attitude in front of the children, they will also behaving like the teacher because the person they respect also behaving like that.


In conclusion, temperament is a person’s characteristic modes of emotional and behavioral responding to environmental events. The 3 types of temperament which is easy-going temperament, slow to warm up temperament and difficult temperament along with the 2 main influences on it which is hereditary influences and environmental influences are discussed. The 6 dimensions of infant temperament which is fearful distress, irritable distress, positive distress, activity level, attention span and rhythmicity are also discussed. I take time to try new things and staying in new environment so I think that slow to warm up is my type of temperament. I wish to change myself to become an easy-going temperament person. Through this assignment I learned the 6 dimensions and the 3 types of temperament, through this information I also learned that how hereditary and environment can influence a children’s temperament.


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