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Parenting quiz: How to prevent toddler tantrums

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Cope with supermarket meltdowns by:

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Cope with supermarket meltdowns by:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

When you reward a meltdown, you teach your child that throwing a tantrum is an effective way to get what she wants. Ensure smoother shopping trips by planning wisely. Head to the shops with a well-fed, well-rested child. Go straight after naptime and after your child’s had a healthy snack.

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To calm your restless child in the doctor’s waiting room you're most likely to:

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To calm your restless child in the doctor’s waiting room you're most likely to:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Doing something is a healthier way to fight boredom than eating something. Try entertaining him with books, toys, crayons or colouring books to prevent a tantrum. When you hand out snacks to calm your restless child and prevent a tantrum, you teach him that food is a fair substitute for mental or physical stimulation. This association can stay with him for life. Instead, think of snacks as mini-meals, not treats. Serve them at regular times of the day (such as just after naptime) and get your toddler to sit at a table when he eats. Offer snacks that provide a healthy balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates. Try wholewheat crackers and low-fat cheese, apple slices or carrot sticks and hummus.

Soothe a child who keeps getting out of bed by:

Soothe a child who keeps getting out of bed by:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

A sippy cup of water by your child’s bed is preferable to milk, juice or fizzy drinks, says the NHS. Sugars naturally found in these drinks can pool around your sleeping child’s teeth and cause cavities. What your toddler really needs to help him settle in for sleep is a soothing bedtime ritual, such as bath, brush teeth, book and bed. If he’s fallen into a different routine - one that involves getting up after lights out - calmly walk him back to his room and tuck him in. Don't lecture or talk on the way back to bed - that only reinforces his behaviour by giving him attention. You might have to do this multiple times. Be strong, silent, repeat this and eventually it will stick.

Naptime was supposed to start a long time ago, but there’s more shopping to do:

Naptime was supposed to start a long time ago, but there’s more shopping to do:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Exhaustion is one of the main reasons that toddlers throw tantrums. Over-stimulation is another. So it’s not a good idea to drag a worn-out toddler into a bright, noisy environment to get the last few items on your list. You’ll both be better off - and less stressed - if you keep to regular naptimes and finish your shopping later when your child is well-rested and happy.

When your child seems more clingy than usual:

When your child seems more clingy than usual:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

It’s not easy being a parent - feeding your family, keeping up with work, managing the household. Bear in mind that toddlers need just minutes - not hours - of your undivided time. Children this age have a pattern of playing by themselves, showing you what they’re up to and then playing again. Studies show that toddlers check back in with their parents about seven times an hour. While that may sound like a lot, they typically only want 30 to 60 seconds of your time. Acknowledge and play for a while with your child and then let her go back to playing on her own.

Your child is sad because his brother is away at a friend's: 

Your child is sad because his brother is away at a friend's: 

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Studies suggest that children under two can't really take in what's being displayed on TV. Research also shows that a child’s risk of being overweight increases with every extra hour spent in front of the TV. One study found that toddlers who watch too much TV consume nearly 10% more soft drinks and snacks by the time they’re in school. Your little one is probably more influenced by those commercials than you think. Sometimes it feels like you have to resort to some TV time. But if your child is watching more than two hours a day or you just want to cut back - try playing. Interactive play is better for your child’s mental and physical development. It also encourages him to be active, not sedentary.

Encourage your child to use the potty by:

Encourage your child to use the potty by:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Sweets may work to motivate your child, but rewarding a child’s behaviour with food causes her to form a connection between the two. She’ll start to think that being good equals getting sweets. This is true whether the prize is food or a toy. Toddlers respond equally well to verbal praise (“Yes! What a big girl you are!”) and social rewards (“You haven’t had an accident all day, so we’re going to the park!”). Words and actions like these will have a bigger effect on your child’s behaviour and self-esteem in the long-run than a handful of sweets.

Distract a child from the pain of getting vaccinations with:

Distract a child from the pain of getting vaccinations with:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Juice may seem like a good option, but research shows that distraction - singing, talking, telling a joke or having a child look at an interesting object - works well, too. That way your child won’t come to rely on being soothed by the taste of sugar.

Your Score:   You correctly answered   out of   questions.
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Toddler triumph! Sounds like you tame your child's tantrums and other challenging times with grace. Well done! You are setting your toddler up for healthy lifetime habits.

You're a realist with room to grow. There are going to be moments when you have to take the path of least resistance. The great news is that you seem to know the healthier thing to do in most cases. Just remember the next time a meltdown happens - take a deep breath and think about the choices you can make.

Keeping a toddler happy and healthy is challenging! While it hasn't always been easy, you have options. Try using new information you learned from this quiz. If you feel stuck, try talking with your GP or health visitor. They may offer other solutions or insights.

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