Understanding you and your child's temperaments can help with parenting. For example, melancholic children respond well to fairy tales describing hardships. The phlegmatic child likes comfort, to be kept warm and delicious food. Sanguine children respond well to calm parenting but enjoy social situations. Choleric children like to be leaders and you may find letting them be in charge of tasks helps to give them direction. In Waldorf schools teachers work with temperaments to help children grow and develop.
Children of these temperaments are often drawn to these colors:
- Choleric: Red & Fire
- Sanguine: Yellow & Rainbow
- Phlegmatic: Green & Forest
- Melancholic: Blues & Ocean
According to Rudolf Steiner- the founder of Waldorf education - each phase of life has a temperament associated with it.
- Childhood: Sanguine
- Adolescence: Choleric
- Adulthood: Melancholic
- Old Age: Phlegmatic
A goal of adulthood is to bring all four temperaments into balance, to bring harmony into one's life.
Here's a list of animals associated with each temperament.
- Lion (Choleric/Dominance) Strengths— Visionary, practical, productive, strong-willed, independent, decisive, leader.
- Otter (Sanguine/Influence) Strengths— Outgoing, responsive, warm, friendly, talkative, enthusiastic, compassionate.
- Golden Retriever (Phlegmatic/Steadiness).
- Beaver (Melancholy/Compliance)
You can look at the characters in Winnie the Pooh to find the four temperaments - Eeyore is the melancholic; Rabbit choleric; Pooh phlegmatic; and Christopher Robin himself is the sanguine.
Take a quiz to determine your temperament. (A very fun activity to do with children - our family had so much fun discovering our temperaments!)
Let me know what temperament you and your children are in a comment below.
For further reading on this subject I recommend looking at Dr. Gilbert Child's work entitled Understand Your Temperament! A guide to the four temperaments: Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic and Melancholic.