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Do you have a "livewire"?

Surprised blond baby against a black background

The following is a list of statements related to aspects of temperament that are common in children (and their parents?) who are just a bit “more.” This checklist isn’t meant to “diagnose” or “measure” temperament, but to help you see what areas your child experiences more strongly than others. No child will be high (or low) on every single trait.

Please rate how true each statement is for your little one on a scale of
1 (not at all true) to 10 (omg, this is so my child)

Never misses a thing/Notices everything.

Understands more than expectable for their age.


Notices small inconsistencies, differences, or patterns in behaviors, etc. (e.g., “You read three books last night!”)

Knows what they want and lets you know.

Crying-it-out for sleep didn’t/doesn’t work because he/she would never give in and just go to sleep.


They can dig in their heels for what they want and will totally outlast you.

Has or had eczema, silent reflux, ear infections, or food intolerance.

“I can get my baby totally asleep and the minute I lay them down, their eyes pop open and I have to start all over again.”

Has or had eczema, silent reflux, ear infections, or food intolerance.


Needs/needed to be bounced on a ball to sleep.

HATED the swaddle and/or carseat

Needs total dark, white noise, just the right environment to sleep.

Dislikes loud noises or bright, loud spaces
(e.g., Costco is a nightmare)

Always on the go.


Never slept well (even as a newborn)

Won’t sleep because “it’s like they’re afraid they’ll miss something.” (“Serious case of FOMO.”)

“It’s like she/he’s ‘on’ until he/she’s ‘off.’
There’s no in-between. It's like a light switch.”

“Even from birth, she was very alert and focused.”
(The nurses at the hospital may have even commented.)


“She never naps longer than 30 minutes. It’s like clockwork.”

“This baby/child just never seems sleepy.”

Doesn’t play well alone. Always wants YOU.

Goes from zero to sixty. “If I don’t get to them quickly, it can take a long time to calm them down.”

Not a self-soother. Needs a lot of help calming down or settling into sleep.


Everything is a big deal. “If they’re happy, they’re really happy, and if they’re sad or frustrated, oh boy…”

Picks up on others’ emotions/Feelings easily hurt/
High level of empathy

emotional sensitivity

High sense of justice/fairness (older child)

No predictable patterns for eating or sleeping. Every day can be different.


A strategy works for a few days, then stops working for no apparent reason.

Reached milestones (holding head up, sitting, rolling, crawling, words, walking) early.

(Older children) Has a very active brain (especially at bedtime) – thoughts, fears, worries, ideas.

Very verbal/early talker


Easily bored, Can move from one thing to the next very quickly

Tends to perfectionism. Knows exactly how they want things to be. (Some say "bossy")

Lots of difficulty with transitions, changes in routine..

low frustration tolerance

Very low frustration tolerance.

Cautious. Likes to observe before jumping in

Some would call my child “shy”


Likes to (or will) play alone

Moves eagerly toward new sights, people, places


Highly social


Please rate how true each statement is for YOU. . . 

“I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing.”

“This child is so different from my friends’ children. I feel like I'm the only one with a child like this.”

parent of a livewire

I think *I* might be a livewire.

“I worry that I’m screwing it all up. I never know what to do.”

"There is not enough bubble bath in the world for how tired I am."

“I’ve really tried everything for sleep, and nothing works. Seriously…nothing. (And if one more person says I just have to sleep train, I'm going to lose it.)”

"This is nothing like I expected parenting would be."

You may not have indicated high numbers on everything and that's normal. But if you indicated numbers on that "OMG" end of the scale more than a couple of times? You probably have a livewire. 

Need a hard copy of the quiz?

Click the button to get a blank version to reference later (or maybe to take yourself?)

A couple in t-shirts and jeans doing a happy dance
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