How to parent for your child’s personality (top tips revealed!)

New Shoots How to parent for your child’s personality (top tips revealed!) .jpg

Does your little one gravitate to certain types of toys? Are they particularly active even during quiet times? When you read them a book, do they pay more attention to the pictures or are they hanging off your every word?

Your answers could be the ticket to reducing the number of times you think ‘I could’ve handled THAT parenting moment better….’. Sound good? Read on.

What’s the Multiple Intelligences Theory?

For over 30 years, some schools and early childhood centres, including New Shoots, have adapted their practices to follow Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences Theory.

In a nutshell, the theory states that each child's personality falls into eight different types of intelligence, and parenting to your child’s specific ‘intelligence’ will positively affect their learning (and keep you sane!).

What are the eight personalities and how do I parent to them?

Everyone fits into each intelligence to varying degrees. The one (or more) of the following personalities your child fits into strongest can determine the best way for them to learn.

By taking a step back to watch how your child responds in different situations, you will gain the insight and tools you need to help them master new skills and make it less frustrating for them (and you!). 

Linguistic (Word Smart)

Linguistic children are language oriented, they pay attention to words and the order and meaning of them. They often have an expanded vocabulary and like to crack jokes, tell stories and play word games. To help your linguistic child through a difficult situation or learning a new concept, ask them to create a story, and help the main character resolve the issue or understand the new idea. 

Things to do at home:

  • When baking or drawing, ask them to describe what they’re doing/seeing/feeling and then work together on a story of your day
  • Read books that rhyme or feature word play 
  • Play verbal games - for example come up with words that sound the same, like 'run, sun, bun, won, done, tonne'.

Musical (Music Smart)

Musical children have a natural affinity with music. They love to hum, sing and create tunes of their own. To help a musical child learn, incorporate music wherever you can. If it’s helping them to learn how to count, ask them to count drum beats. To help them work through an issue, invite them to create a story using appropriate sound effects, like feet stomping.

Things to do at home:

  • Make your own instruments - a jar with rice inside makes an excellent shaker!
  • Leave the pots and pans out with a wooden spoon, a whisk, and a plastic spatula nearby. You can create songs, listen to different rhythms and hear the different sounds each utensil makes
  • Listen to different genres of music together, dance to the different rhythms and hum or sing along.

Spatial (Picture Smart)

Spatial children see the world as it is and try to re-create it. They process information through visual aids, and can often be found doodling and taking things apart and putting them back together again. To help your spatial child make sense of things, try explaining with objects or images. Give them photos, or picture books.

Things to do at home:

  • Have fun with play dough
  • Have lots of paper, pencils, crayons, paint on hand to let them loose on
  • Give them a map of the world to study, and have puzzles on hand.

Bodily-kinesthetic (Body Smart)

Bodily-kinesthetic children engage with their surroundings in a physical way. They often master the use of their body from a young age, and are skilled at handling objects and using their body to communicate. To help your bodily-kinesthetic child understand their world, use role play or dress ups, play charades.

Things to do at home:

  • Blow up balloons and create challenges to keep them off the ground
  • Play physical games like Statues, Charades, Simon Says
  • Build physical models of the things that interest them (like the solar system or superheroes).

Logical-Mathematical (Number or Reasoning Smart)

Logical-mathematical children see the order and logic in the world. They are naturally inquisitive, usually asking lots of questions. They enjoy working with numbers and identifying patterns, and often have little collections of things that interest them. To help your logical-mathematical child, explanations need to be given to them in a logical and rational way. Use proper terminology and (if applicable) give scientific explanations. 

Things to do at home:

  • Play Dominoes, Chess or Monopoly
  • Identify something small that interests them and help them start a collection - shells, rocks, coins from different countries
  • Find books that feature many different things on the page, so they can identify and count each thing.

Interpersonal (People Smart)

Interpersonal children have an innate understanding of people. They can pick up on other people’s moods, feelings or motivations and adapt how they relate to them. They thrive in group settings, are great team players and are effective communicators. To help your interpersonal child work through things, give them puppets or dolls and help them talk through the issue using them.

 Things to do at home:

  • Put on puppet shows together
  • Play games as a family
  • Create lots of group playdate opportunities (bonus if it includes some 'Mum friends' time for you!)

Intrapersonal (Self Smart)

Intrapersonal children have a considerable amount of self-awareness and can reflect on how the world impacts them. They have an understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses and usually work best on their own. They often observe and listen to interactions, and have a good handle on their own feelings and moods. To help your intrapersonal child thrive, give them plenty of time to process the information they have received, and give them time to explore new things on their own.

Things to do at home:

  • Give them a camera to record the things that interest them, to look at and study later
  • Visit the library and give them (appropriate) free reign to choose books that interest them
  • Give them quiet space to think and reflect on their day.

Naturalistic (Nature Smart)

Naturalistic children are most at home outdoors. Their love of exploring nature knows no bounds, and they often have strong nurturing skills. To help your naturalistic child, it’s pretty clear the best thing for them is to send them outdoors! Also give them photos and books that feature animals and the outside world to help them learn about different topics.

Things to do at home:

  • Go for walks in the bush or on the beach
  • Go out at night and look at the stars
  • Give them a bug catcher kit and let them explore the garden.

Whether your child is a number-lover or a tree-climber (or both!) it’s exciting to know there are specific ways to help their unique personality thrive. 

For more useful advice on what you can do at home to support your little learner, please follow us on Facebook (New Shoots Children's Centres) and if you’re ready to start choosing childcare, please contact us to visit a centre near you.