The Emotional Life of the Toddler: Chapters 5 and 6

The Emotional Life of the Toddler: Chapters 5 and 6

Alejandra Valera
Apr 14, 2008

Welcome to the another week of the Ohdeedoh Book Club as move onward and tackle chapters 5 and 6 of the book The Emotional Life of the Toddler.

Last week, chapter 4 touched on the different toddler temperaments that Lieberman claims children have: easy, slow to warm up, difficult and active.

Chapter 5 is dedicated to the exploration of the active toddler while chapter 6 is reserved for the slow to warm (a.k.a. shy) toddler.

Fiercely independent, active toddlers are whirling dervishes of movement fascinated by the far off object, the way things move and yet, at the same time they feel the need for their secure base (i.e., their parents) in order to go off to explore their new world. Lieberman states that this period of "unbridled motor exploration" begins to slow down by the age of 30 months. The end of chapter 5 gives parents suggestions on how to deal with friction between parent and child due to this high level of energy.

At the other end of the spectrum is the shy toddler. "Children slow to warm up have three major temperamental traits: they are inordinately shy with strangers, cautious towards novel objects and timid in unfamiliar surroundings." The shy toddler stays closer to their parents and usually grow to be shy children and later, shy adults. For parents of shy toddlers, Lieberman also gives tips on how to introduce new things and situations gradually to them in a non-stressful manner.

We were particularly interested in reading these two chapters as our son is an active toddler, while we were shy toddlers who did indeed grow up to be a somewhat shy adult. Are any of your children either active toddlers or slow to warm toddlers? Did you find any of Lieberman's suggestions on how to deal with these personalities, helpful?

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