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What is your child’s dominant sense?

  • McClatchy-Tribune News Service
  • Published Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, at 10:10 p.m.

Knowing what dominant sense your child is helps you to relate better, bond and understand how to communicate more effectively with them.

Why not start the new year with a refresher into what dominant sense your child is?

• A tactile baby needs to be held all the time and cries if you put him down. The baby will find it hard to fall asleep unless closely held or cuddled.

As a toddler, they have to pull out, touch, bite and hold everything within reach. Instead of selecting one toy, they pull out all their toys from the shelf or toy box. They show their emotions in a very physical manner – by hugging and squeezing if happy or excited, or by pushing, pulling or hitting if confused, overexcited or unhappy.

When they become preschoolers, they find it difficult to sit still and even harder to resist touching, banging and moving things around them.

• Auditory babies startle at the slightest noise, wake easily in response to a new sound and are easily distracted from eating by sound.

Auditory toddler tantrums are very vocal, including screaming, squealing and howling. The auditory child can easily get overwhelmed or distracted in a noisy environment, such as a shopping center or preschool. They do best with a routine.

When they move into the preschool years, they are prone to whining and complaining, although this is simply them experimenting with their ability to create a response to their own sound. They will enjoy singing to themselves and having long conversations with toys as part of conversational role play.

• Visual babies love to watch Mom and Dad and see what is going on with the family. Even at this young age, they show a strong preference for familiar faces, or people with features similar to their caregiver.

As toddlers, they begin to show a preference for a favorite color, item or place. They love to point at things, and love to show off their favorite items.

Visual preschoolers are amazingly tidy, preferring to keep their room or play area organized. When playing, they have acute visual pattern recognition and will enjoy lining up similar-looking toys, according to size, shape, color and other visual patterns.

• Taste and smell babies show a clear preference for quiet, calm environments. They can be sensitive to changes in regular routines around eating, sleeping and bathing.

As toddlers, they can be viewed as emotionally oversensitive and are easily upset with any variation to their world.

When they become preschoolers, they will love to play dress-up and role-play games. They can appear to have low self-esteem, but usually, they simply tend to be resistant to change, and will adjust slowly to a new routine or environment. Once they feel secure, they are just as outgoing as other children.

Priscilla Dunstan, creator of the Dunstan Baby Language, is a child and parenting behavior expert and consultant and the author of "Child Sense." Learn more about Dunstan and her parenting discoveries at www.childsense.com.

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