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Dealing With Temperament Conflicts

If it feels like you and your child are polar opposites, you can still meet in the middle. "The newest thinking is that personality is constantly being shaped by experiences and interaction," notes Zero to Three development expert Claire Lerner. Here, how to deal with three common temperament conflicts:

You: organized, efficient
Baby: anti-routine

If your baby resists schedules, don't give up: You can nudge her slowly in your direction, says Lerner. Stay home when you want her to nap, for instance, and allow for downtime in her crib, even if she doesn't actually sleep.

You: outgoing, adventurous
Baby: clingy, cautious

Does your baby grab onto your leg the minute he arrives at playgroup? Introduce him to people gradually, says Lerner. "Put your baby in a carrier so he's close to you," she recommends. "And hold him until he warms up to others."

You: laid-back, easygoing
Baby: superactive, risk-taking

Create a safe play space where your busy tot can crawl and climb  -- and you can avoid the worry. When it comes to quiet-time activities, says Lerner, "you can read her a book about cars while she plays with them." She'll be listening in her own way.

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