Curious Behavior "Toddlers are never little angels in public," says Ann Douglas, 38-year-old mother of four andauthor of The Mother of All Baby Books John Wiley & Sons, 2002)and soon-to-come TheMother of All Toddler Books. In fact, when her son was 2, he pulled the plug on the entirecash register system while they were shopping at a local liquor store. "He was magneticallydrawn to plugs and outlets," says Douglas."This is natural behavior for toddlers," says Robert Billingham, associate professor of humandevelopment and family studies at Indiana University. "Everything is so new, exciting,interesting and stimulating. They're simply responding in a curious sort of way."
Memory For A Good Game of Peek-a-Boo!The game 'Peek-a-Boo' wouldn't be possible without this idea of object permanence! A babylaughs and squeals when Daddy's face reappears from behind his hands, because she's beginning to realize that he's still there, even when he's out of sight. Babies who've mastered'Peek-a-Boo' have probably caught on to the idea of object permanence.
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: A Word of Caution!Although learning to distinguish temperamental traits will ultimately help you understand andwork with your child's temperament, it is important to note that over a third (35%) of thechildren in Chess and Thomas' study did not fit neatly into any of the three groups. If you areconfounded by your child's behavior, you might be tempted to assign them to one of thesecategories and say, "So that's why she acts this way, she's difficult." Doing this might initiallyassuage your confusion, but it can also cause you to misread or inadvertently ignore your child's needs.Labeling your child is also hurtful and counterproductive. Calling your child "difficult," "shy"or even "easy going" makes it hard for them to see themselves as anything else. Distilling thetotality of a child down to a single adjective is like describing a smooth, gooey chocolate icecream cone as "cold."What Makes Your Child Tick?Collecting accurate information about your child's temperament takes time. Carey suggestswatching your child over the course of four to six weeks. Keep a notebook on hand to jotdown what you see. If you are at work for much of the day, let your childcare provider knowwhat you are doing. Although they are unlikely to have the time to take notes, they can provide important insight.When you are with your children, observe them in a variety of situations at different times of day; eating, playing with friends, watching television, doing their homework and, if possible,while they sleep. Try not to focus only on the behaviors that bother you. Adopt a neutral, non- judgmental stance that includes your child's positive, joyful reactions.Some temperamental traits are easier to spot than others. "Approach/Withdrawal" or how your