Temperament Trait: Persistence
Does your child have a short or long attention span? Does she stick with things, even if problems arise? Or does she give up easily and say, "I can't”?
- Gives up easily: A child with this trait may want to give up quickly on new foods, but don't you give up trying to interest and encourage them. Welsch suggests offering foods in different forms (for example, offer vegetables cooked or fresh, preparing them different ways). You can also pair a new food with an old favorite. And definitely continue to make healthy choices for yourself. Your child will notice and follow. Physical activities may take longer to learn if this child gets overwhelmed easily. Celebrate her successes. "Praise specifically if they try an activity and stick with it," Rose-Kayser tells WebMD. "And don't just praise the end result, but the whole process of trying."
- Persistent: Getting a persistent child engaged in a new activity or even new foods may be easy because persistent kids usually like to finish things. They may even be competitive, Rose-Kayser says, depending on their other traits.
Temperament Trait: Adaptability
This refers to how easily your child adjusts to changes. Does he adapt easily or resist them?
- Adapts easily: When it comes to boosting nutrition or trying out new activities, adaptable kids usually go with the flow.
- Resists change: This type of child is a natural planner. She likes to know what's coming next. Unite food and personality by taking her food shopping or encouraging her to cook new foods with you. The same strategy applies to new physical activities. The more your child knows about a new activity in advance and the more time she has to get used to the idea, the more comfortable she'll be with it.
Temperament Trait: Mood
This has to do with your child's general outlook. Does she tend to be smiling and cheerful, generally positive? Or is she more serious, thoughtful, or even negative?
- Outgoing, cheerful: A more outgoing child will probably be receptive to new foods or activities and may easily find things she likes about each.
- Introverted, contemplative: "These kids just tend to be more serious and thoughtful," Rose-Kayser says. "They're also usually very analytical." It may take positive reinforcement from you -- and some discussion -- to get a child with this temperament trait to eat better. Rose-Kayser suggests asking questions such as: "What was one thing you liked about that meal?" Or if the child didn't like a food, "How would you change it so you do like it?" She will really analyze and search for an answer. This type of child may not believe she can do a new physical activity or may not want to do it. Again, positive reinforcement and questions can help guide her.