A Q&A about temperament screening for children and parents with Kim Overby, director of community programs at Sanford Health
What is temperament?
Temperament is how one is genetically wired to respond to the world. The blending of nine genetic traits and how these traits interact with one another in a given situation determine a person’s temperament.
How can parents better understand their child’s behaviors?
Children often try to tell their parents something through their behaviors. They are often unsure how to use their words to express their needs. For example, perhaps a child is trying to tell their parent that they are tired, hungry stressed or even just asking for limits. It’s important for parents to ask why and what. A temperament screening can help give parents the tools to help them better understand their child’s behavior.
What is a temperament screening?
As mentioned previously, there are nine genetic traits that determine temperament. This screening allows parents to see what traits their child has and how these traits interact with one another. These traits include activity level, predictability of day, distractibility, adaptability, how they approach (new people or situations), persistence, sensitivity (light and sound), mood and intensity.
How can a temperament screening help parents?
A temperament screening is one of those insightful tools for parenting. A temperament screening really helps parents see where their child falls within the nine genetic traits and provides guidance regarding how to parent a child with that trait. It also helps you to set up a routine that fits the needs of your child and helps parents to understand that as a parent, you cannot change your child. The temperament screening is a great tool that helps parents to guide and encourage their children.
For example, let’s say a parent and their child need to leave to go to the grocery store. The parent knows their child has low adaptability and needs a warning when a change is coming. By knowing this, the parent can plan ahead and let their child know they will need to leave for the store in 10 minutes. By giving the child this warning, it gives them time to adapt to the coming change.
Should parents also have a temperament screening?
Parents can have their temperament done in addition to their child’s. This screening can provide parents with tools to work on themselves and learn how their temperament affects their parenting. In addition, the screening of the child and the parent can be compared to show the compatibility of temperaments.