The Zen Child
Erin Patrice O?Brien
He's a dream come true, with a calm, go-with-the-flow, always-sunny disposition. That doesn't mean, however, that easy children are all smooth sailing. In fact, it might be harder to get or hold his attention, and he still needs lots of love and time.
How to bring out his best:
- Reinforce positive behavior. Don't forget to praise your little one when he does what you ask. If your easygoing guy sees his more unruly big brother getting a lot of attention, he might imitate the bad behavior to get some himself.
- Offer a hand. "Easygoing kids can get lost in the shuffle," says Lerner. "So let your child know that it's okay if he asks for your help."
- Keep your expectations realistic. The Zen child can have tantrums and act out, just like anyone else, so don't come down harder on him just because his meltdown is an aberration.
- Tune in to his signals. "When a child is extremely easygoing, we can sometimes overlook his needs and feelings," says Lerner. Just because his feelings aren't obvious doesn't mean things don't upset him.
- Join in his play. Parents often let mellow children hang out on their own, which fosters independence but thwarts interactive learning. Be sure to give him plenty of options and choices -- from dinner to toys -- and initiate conversations.