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Smiley, happy toddler

Is it normal?

It’s very normal for children to be full of energy, loud and boisterous – but some children seem to be more unruly than their peers and there are times when it can be hard work looking after them.

Your child’s temperament and personality

Children come in all shapes and sizes, and that goes for their temperament too. There is a spectrum of outgoingness, from extreme introversion and shyness to extreme extroversion. Psychologists have found differences (that persist throughout childhood) in temperament in babies as young as three months old. These personality distinctions appear fairly hardwired and you will learn your baby’s unique character.

The brains of bold, boisterous children

Studies have shown that bold, loud and fearless children appear to have a less sensitive amygdala (an ancient part of the brain that tells us we are in danger).  These children will be pretty unflappable, happy to approach new people, do new things and often take risks. At the fun fair they will be the ones who beg to go on the highest slides and the loudest rides.

How can I cope with my spirited or boisterous child?

It’s wonderful to see the energy and spirit that many children exhibit. However, if you have a very boisterous and loud toddler they will need lots of physical activity in their day or they will get frustrated. We live very sedentary lives, and parents and nurseries can often underestimate how much exercise and fresh air children need.

Car journeys, cafés and grown-ups and your boisterous child

Adults should be realistic about how much sitting still and being quiet a boisterous child can cope with. Try not to feel judged if your child doesn’t behave like an adult – they’re not adults and even the most disapproving adult was a child once!

However, there are ways to make things easier for you and your child. Before going on car journeys or meeting people, plan it so that they’ve had a play and some lunch. That way, your little one will be at their most calm – just make sure they’ve digested her food before you get in the car.

Good manners

Although grown-ups need to be realistic about the behaviour of babies and toddlers, all children need to learn that there are times when they need to talk more quietly, walk and be a bit careful. Even if you have a spirited child, they need to be safe around, for example, a person on crutches or an elderly person who might be nervous that they’ll fall.

Magic ‘matching’ tricks to calm your child

Toddlers look to us to regulate their emotions: talking slowly and authoritatively, being calm and slow breathing will lead to matching behaviour. We all tend to match and copy patterns of breathing, talking and movement. Your toddler will subconsciously calm down if you are calm.