Your Baby Today

Temperament Quiz

Your Baby's Personality Profile

By Linda Henry

Wouldn't it be great if you could say to a baby, "So, tell me a little bit about yourself" --and get a reply? Unfortunately, an infant can't tell you what he's thinking or who he is, at least not in words. But if we pay attention to the way he responds to common situations, we can learn a lot about his temperament. "b"y age three or four months a baby's temperament shows significant stability," says William Carey, MD., author of Understanding Your Child's Temperament (Macmillan). Temperament, according to Dr. Carey, can be broken down into distinct traits, such as the child's level of activity, initial response to new people and situations, adaptability, intensity, and distractibility, among others.

For each of the following questions, choose the response that best describes your baby. Your answers will create your baby's individual personality profile.

Enter baby's first name:

1. When buckling your baby into a car seat, he:

A. always kicks and thrashes and resists restraint.
B. always allows you to buckle him up.
C. usually accepts such restraint as a fact of life.

2. When visiting a friend's house, your baby is likely to:

A. check out his surroundings.
B. be happy to play quietly on his blanket on the floor, playing with the toys that you brought for him.
C. cling to you like dried play dough on shag carpeting.

3. As far as diapers are concerned, your baby:

A. does not like to be the least bit wet and cries loudly at the slightest discomfort.
B. doesn't mind being changed, but is not demanding about it.
C. couldn't care less whether she is wet or dry.

4. When your baby is sleeping:

A. the room must be dark and quiet. The slightest noise from the other room might awaken her.
B. you could turn on the lights and play disco music and she wouldn't wake up.
C. you try to give her peace and quiet, but you don't have to tiptoe and whisper.

5. Your spouse accidentally drops a frying pan on the kitchen tile, causing a very loud noise that startles your baby. You pick up the crying baby and try to distract her with her favorite rattle. Her reaction is to:

A. continue crying for several minutes; she cannot be easily soothed.
B. stop crying immediately.
C. continue crying, but in less than a minute she's reaching for the rattle.

6. Your baby is going to a new babysitter. His first day he:

A. cries loudly, clings to you, and doesn't want you to leave. After five minutes, the sitter gently takes the child from your arms. You find out later that your child spent much of the morning screaming, and napped only sporadically all day.
B. wants you to hold him for a few minutes, and then reluctantly accepts being held by the new sitter. When you call from work a half hour later, you're told he's contentedly playing.
C. accepts your goodbye hug with a smile, and waves as you drive off.

7. After several weeks with the new sitter, the same child:

A. must be coaxed into participating in activities.
B. seems content there and interacts with the sitter.
C. has adapted well to the new routine.

8. Your baby's cries are:

A. usually more like a whimper than a scream.
B. distinguishable and different from one another, depending on whether the baby is hungry, tired, needs changing, or simply wants to be held.
C. intense and loud--whether happy or unhappy, this baby is boisterous about it.

9. In general, your baby is:

A. happy
B. unhappy
C. content

10. Your baby:

A. takes naps at predictable times and eats at predictable intervals.
B. has no predictable sleeping or feeding times.
C. usually takes naps at certain times and eats on a fairly predictable schedule.

The content on these pages is provided as general information only and should not be substituted for the advice of your physician.


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