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Parenting Quiz: Know How to Prevent a Toddler Meltdown?

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It's best to deal with a grocery store meltdown by:

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It's best to deal with a grocery store meltdown by:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

When a meltdown starts, first take a deep breath to calm yourself. You need to be calm to calm your child. Then, get her attention by looking directly into her eyes. While using a calm, quiet voice acknowledge her feelings, "I know you are mad." Then tell her the behavior you expect of her, "I need you to stop crying." Meltdowns happen with all toddlers. Stand your ground. When you cave in to a meltdown, you teach your child that throwing a tantrum is an effective way to get what she wants. Sometimes when your child can't get self-control, you may have to leave the store and come back later. Do your best to ensure smoother shopping trips by planning wisely. Head to the store with a well-fed, well-rested child. Go right after naptime and after your child’s had a healthy snack.

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

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To calm your antsy 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 or toys to prevent a tantrum. When you dole out snacks to calm your antsy child and prevent a tantrum, you teach him that food is an OK substitute for mental or physical stimulation. This association can stick with him for life. Instead, think of snacks as mini-meals, not treats. Serve them at regularly scheduled times of the day (like right after naptime) and have your toddler sit at a table when he eats. Offer snacks that provide a healthy balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Try small apple slices with a little bit of peanut butter or whole-wheat crackers and low-fat cheese.

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 OK, but not milk or juice, says the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. 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 like the 4 Bs: 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 behavior by giving him attention. You might have to do this multiple times. Be strong, silent, repeat, and eventually it will stick.

Naptime was supposed to start a long time ago, but there are more errands to run:

Naptime was supposed to start a long time ago, but there are more errands to run:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Exhaustion is one of the main reasons that toddlers throw tantrums. Overstimulation is another. So it’s not a good idea to thrust a worn-out toddler into a bright, noisy environment to check off the last few items on your to-do list. You’ll both be better off -- and less stressed -- if you keep to a naptime schedule and finish your errands later when your kid 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. But keep 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 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 on a play date: 

Your child is sad because his brother is away on a play date: 

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Playing with your child is much better for your child's mental and physical development than trying to fix his feelings by distracting him with TV. As a guideline, toddlers should watch less than two hours of TV a day. Kids younger than 2 years old shouldn't watch any, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. Research shows that a child's risk of being overweight increases with every extra hour spent in front of the TV. One study found that tots who watch too much TV consume nearly 10% more soft drinks and snacks by the time they're in grade school. So if your child is watching more than two hours of TV a day (between school, home, and daycare combined) or you just want to cut back -- try playing one-on-one with him. Play 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 behavior with food is unhealthy. She'll start to think that being good equals getting goodies. This is true whether the prize is food or a toy. Toddlers respond equally well to verbal praise ("Yay! 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 behavior and self-esteem in the long-run than a handful of sweets. Spending time playing with your child is the best reward you can give her.

Distract a child from the pain of getting shots with:

Distract a child from the pain of getting shots 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 whisperer! Sounds like you tame your child's tantrums and other challenging times with grace. Congrats! 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 info you gained from this quiz. If you feel stuck, try talking with your child's pediatrician. She may offer other solutions or insights.

 

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