CHILDREN’S PERSONALITIES: How to Improve Communication

Whether it’s fostering the social, emotional and intellectual growth of our own children or the children in our classrooms, we as adult guides end up dealing with many different kinds of personalities. While I am going to describe children’s personalities in four basic categories, there is a lot of blending of personalities.

It’s not so much:

“Which personality are you?”

It’s more about:

“what blend of personalities are you?”

After I describe the four essential personality types, I’m going to share with you some tips on how to improve how we communicate with each one of them. In very basic terminology, here are the four types:

DOMINANT

Any child can become dominant, depending on the situation, yet this type of personality thrives on being dominant with the people and things in their lives. Like any trait and/or characteristic, too much of anything can create challenges. With that in mind, being dominant can be an advantage sometimes. This type of personality likes to take charge and make decisions. However, they do tend to make decisions without enough thought prior to that decision.  Here are some strengths and weaknesses of this type:

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  • Willing to risk

  • Embraces their own ideas as valuable

  • Goal driven

-

  • Not a good listener

  • Overtly serious

  • Does not tend to show empathy

PLAYFUL

All children can be playful, but some live in that world and thrive in their childlike expression of life into adulthood. This sense of play can lead to a great deal of creative output and even masterful communication, but unbridled, it can lead to an energy that is draining to be around. As a child, I was in part this personality, but it was not my primary personality “language.” However, as an adult, it has grown tremendously and it has been a huge advantage for me, and helpful to those around me. Fascinating how our personalities evolve over time based on many variables. Here are the strengths and weaknesses of this type:

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  • Willing to risk

  • Playful approach leads to unique ideas

  • High levels of energy make them charismatic by nature

-

  • Tends to seek approval from others

  • Can feel odd due to their unique ideas

  • Unorganized

THOUGHTFUL

All children can show signs of being thoughtful, yet this personality type is thoughtful to the extreme. They are especially thoughtful of others and are known as very loyal, loving, and an excellent source of feedback. In classroom settings, you’ll see these children offering to help others with a smile on their face! Here are the strengths and weaknesses of this type:

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  • High levels of empathy

  • Excellent listeners

  • Wonderful team players

-

  • Have difficulty with conflict

  • Forget to take care of their own needs

  • Over protective of those they love

DETAILS

All children will pay attention to details when it is convenient, yet this group will pay attention to details as a way of exploring and playing. This personality type thrives in understanding how things and people work and why things exist. Here are the strengths and weaknesses of this type:

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  • Organized and Planners

  • Tend to have unique ideas

  • Chameleon features - they are equally adept at feeling, sensing, and thinking

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  • Tend to hesitate when making decisions until all details are known

  • Worry about criticism of their unique ideas

  • Can be a challenge to get to know

NOTE on BLENDED PERSONALITIES

There is an unlimited number of personality combinations. For example, you could have two dominant children in your classroom. If one is Dominant/Details and another is Dominant/Playful, they will each present a very different set of characteristics, challenges and advantages. For a great read, I suggest “What Color is Your Personality?” by Dr. Carol Ritberger.

TIPS for IMPROVED COMMUNICATION

DOMINANT

  • Give them choices (because they love to be in charge)

  • Make sharing part of both choices

  • Reward them for listening

PLAYFUL

  • Make everything a game

  • Encourage them for being different

  • Congratulate them for completing tasks (they have a tendency to have multiple projects and not complete them in a timely fashion)

THOUGHTFUL

  • Encourage them to use sentences that begin with “I want…”, “I believe…” (they tend to not use these as they are usually following others and/or helping others)

  • Congratulate them for helping others (this is their jam!)

  • Let them know it’s ok to choose (in any context)

DETAILS

  • Encourage Free Play

  • Foster their new ideas

  • Ask them why… then listen

And that was a quick intro into the world of personalities and children… cheers!

Enrique

Luke Hewlett