Health Resource Spotlight: Head Start’s Mental Health Tool

August 14, 2017

The Problem:

Sometimes an adult (parent/caregiver/early childhood educator) has a temperament that is vastly different from that of a young child. How do you bridge the gap and foster a loving, supportive relationship?

One Solution:

You can start with the interactive Infant Toddler Temperament Tool (IT3) on Head Start’s Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECKLC). There’s a version of the tool for infants, and another for toddlers. Here’s how they work:

The tools have nine categories they call ‘dimensions,’ including:

  1. Activity Level
  2. Distractibility
  3. Intensity
  4. Regularity
  5. Sensitivity
  6. Approachability
  7. Adaptability
  8. Persistence
  9. Mood

For each dimension, the adult filling out the tool is asked to rate both themselves and the child (e.g., highly active or less active). When all questions are answered, the tool will provide results with helpful suggestions on how the adult can support the child in those areas where their temperaments may diverge.

As a provider, you can inform parents about the existence of these tools. You may also want to access them yourself as a reminder about your own temperament and the ways you can support the children in your care.

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Topics: Health & Safety

Written by Laurie Rackas