Temperament Types

In the 1970’s researchers Thomas and Chess discovered nine temperamental traits.  They include things like how active the child is, how long their attention span is, and their mood.  Thomas and Chess noticed that infants tend to fall into groups based on which traits they had by 3 months old.  These groups make up the three temperament types (Berger, 2018; Berk, 2013).  

Easy babies have a positive mood.  They are adaptable to new people and situations and they have regular body functions, meaning that they eat, sleep, and poop at the same time each day.  This makes taking care of these infant easier for their caregiver because they are predictable.  These infants tend to sleep a lot and cry just a little.  About 40% of babies are classified as easy (Berger, 2018; Feldman, 2014). 

Difficult babies have negative moods and they may have intense reactions.  If you take something from them they scream.  They are very active and run around a lot.  They don’t like changes to their routine.  These infants have irregular body rhythms; meaning they eat, sleep, and toilet at different times each day, which makes caring for them harder for their caregiver.  They may be irritable and fussy.  Difficult babies tend to cry a lot and sleep a little.  About 10% of babies are difficult (Berger, 2018; Feldman, 2014).  

Slow-to-warm up babies tend to be inactive and calm.  They withdraw from new situations, adapting slowly, and they may have a neg. mood.  You can slowly draw them in, but it takes them a while to get used to new places and people.  About 15% of babies are slow-to-warm-up (Berger, 2018; Feldman, 2014).

Are you good at math?  What does that come to?  65%.  The other 35% of infants couldn’t be put easily into one of the types.  They have a combination of temperament types (Berger, 2018; Feldman, 2014).



Berger, K. S. (2018). The developing person: Through Childhood and adolescence (11th

ed.). New York, NY: Worth.

Berk, L. E. (2013). Child development (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Feldman, R. S. (2014). Child development: A topical approach. Boston, MA: Pearson.