Parenting self-assessment

 

How are you and your child coping?

 

Parenting can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience. It can also be the hardest thing any of us have to deal with.

 

This assessment is for parents of babies and pre-school children. It provides practical advice to help with the demands of family life.

 

The results will give you an overview of your situation, as well as useful links to information tailored to your responses.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. How old is your child?

 

a) Under three months old.

b) Between three and six months old.

c) Between six and 18 months old.

d) Between 18 months and three years old.

e) Over three years old.

 

IF YOUR CHILD IS UNDER SIX MONTHS OLD:

 

2. How is your breastfeeding going?

 

a) ItÕs fine. My baby and I are both doing well. (0 points)

Read about the benefits of breastfeeding

 

b) I'm still finding it a bit tricky and uncomfortable. (1 point)

If youÕre having problems breastfeeding, speak to your health visitor about one-to-one support.

How to breastfeed

 

c) My baby doesn't seem to like it. (3 points)

If youÕre having problems breastfeeding, speak to your health visitor about one-to-one support.

Common breastfeeding problems

 

d) My breasts are sore. (3 points)

If you have soreness caused by breastfeeding, get advice from your GP or health visitor as soon as possible.

Common breastfeeding problems

 

e) My breasts are really sore with a hot red patch. (3 points)

If either of your breasts are sore, red and hot, speak to your GP immediately.

Read about mastitis

 

f) I'm thinking of changing to bottle feeding. (2 points)

If youÕre thinking of changing to bottle feeding, consider combining it with breastfeeding. Speak to your health visitor.

Combining breast and bottle feeding

 

g) I'm not breastfeeding. (0 points)

 

IF YOUR CHILD IS UNDER SIX MONTHS OLD:

 

3. Do any of the following apply to you? You can pick more than one:

 

a) I'm not getting enough sleep. (1 point)

ItÕs usual to feel tired. Ask friends or family to help out so you can rest when youÕre particularly tired.

Sleep and tiredness

 

b) I feel exhausted all the time. (2 points)

Having a new baby can be exhausting, but if youÕre feeling anxious or depressed speak to your health visitor or GP immediately.

Sleep and tiredness

 

c) I'm still sore after the birth. (3 points)

If youÕre sore from the birth, ask your health visitor for a check-up to make sure youÕre healing as expected.

Your body after childbirth

 

d) I don't have time to eat. (2 points)

Although it can be hard, eating healthily will give you energy. Try preparing some meals when your baby is sleeping. Speak to your health visitor.

Keep healthy after having a baby

 

e) I'm overweight. (1 point)

If you want to lose weight, do it safely. Eat a balanced diet and build gentle exercise into your day, such as going for a walk.

Keep healthy after having a baby

 

f) I have unusual bleeding. (3 points)

If you have any unusual bleeding, see your GP or health visitor as soon as you can for a check-up and advice.

Your body after childbirth

 

g) I'm feeling fine. (0 points)

 

 

IF YOUR CHILD IS BETWEEN SIX AND 18 MONTHS OLD:

 

4. Have you been feeling down or anxious since your child was born?

 

a) No, not at all (0 points)

 

b) Sometimes I feel a bit tired or low, but mostly I'm fine (1 point)

ItÕs normal to feel tired or low sometimes. But if you feel very low, itÕs important to talk to your health visitor.

Sleep and tiredness

 

c) Sometimes I feel quite down (2 points)

If feeling down is affecting your day-to-day life, speak to your GP or health visitor. ThereÕs lots they can do to help.

 

d) I feel down almost every day (3 points)

If feeling down is affecting your day-to-day life, speak to your GP or health visitor. Theres lots they can do to help.

 

e) I feel down and depressed all the time (4 points)

DonÕt ignore your feelings. If youÕre feeling down most days, speak to your GP or health visitor as soon as possible.

Feeling down or depressed?

 

Signs of postnatal depression

 

Getting depression after a baby is born can be very distressing. There are a number of symptoms. 

Some symptoms, such as tiredness, irritability or a poor appetite, are normal if you have just had a baby. Usually these are mild and do not stop you leading a normal life.

 

If you have postnatal depression, you may be increasingly depressed and despondent. Looking after yourself or the baby may become too much.

 

It usually occurs two to eight weeks after the birth and, in some cases, the baby blues don't go away. Sometimes the depression doesn't appear until up to a year after the baby is born.

 

 

IF YOUR CHILD IS 18 MONTHS OR OLDER:

 

5. How do you feel about teaching your child to use a potty or toilet?

 

a) My child is already potty trained. (0 points)

 

b) My child is potty trained during the day but not at night. (1 point)

ItÕs great that your child is potty trained during the day. ItÕs natural for it take longer to be dry at night. This should come with time.

Potty training tips

 

c) I've started potty training. It's not going very well and my child gets upset. (2 points)

It may be too soon for your child to potty train. Go back to nappies for a few weeks and then start again.

Dealing with potty training

 

d) I'd like to start potty training but I'm not sure if my child is ready. (1 point)

Children are usually ready for potty training when they can tell you that they need to wee or poo in advance of doing it.

Potty training tips

 

Potty training

 

Children get bladder and bowel control when theyÕre physically ready for it, and when they want to be dry and clean. Every child is different, so itÕs best not to compare your child with others.

It usually takes a little longer to learn to stay dry throughout the night. Most children learn this between the ages of three and five. It's estimated that one in four three year olds and one in six five year olds wet the bed.

 

6. How much time do you spend playing with and talking to your child on an average day?

 

a) None (2 points)

Playing encourages your babyÕs development, so increase your playtime to at least an hour a day.

 

b) Less than one hour (1 point)

Playing encourages your babyÕs development, so increase your playtime to at least an hour a day.

 

c) One to two hours (0 points)

 

d) Two to three hours (0 points)

 

e) Over three hours (0 points)

 

Creative play ideas

 

Why playing is important

 

We all know that playing is fun, but itÕs also the most effective way for children to learn. By playing, children can practise all the skills theyÕll need as they grow up.

 

To grow and develop, children need time and attention from someone who is happy to play with them. Gradually, theyÕll learn to entertain themselves for some of the time.

 

It can be hard to find time to play with your child when you're busy. Try to find ways of involving your child in what youÕre doing, even the chores. Children learn from everything they do and everything thatÕs going on around them. 

 

7. Has your child had all the recommended tests and vaccinations?

 

a) Yes, they're completely up to date (0 points)

 

b) They have had some of them (1 point)

Check with your health visitor which vaccinations your baby may have missed so they can get them.

 

c) They haven't had any (2 points)

If thereÕs no medical reason for your child not to have their vaccinations, they should have them soon.

 

d) I don't know. (3 points)

Check with your health visitor which vaccinations your baby may have missed so they can get them.

 

Childhood vaccinations explained

 

More on vaccinations

 

ItÕs important that your baby has their vaccinations at the right age, to keep the risk of disease and any side effects as low as possible. All childhood vaccinations are free. Your GP or clinic will usually send you an appointment for vaccinations.

 

A quick guide to when vaccinations are due:

 

¥                Two months: diptheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and Hib (DTaP/IPV/Hib) plus pneumococcal and rotavirus.

¥                Three months: DTaP/IPV/Hib; meningitis C (Men C) and rotavirus.

¥                Four months: DTap/IPV/Hib and pneumococcal.

¥                12-13 months: measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), pneumococcal (PCV), Hib/MenC booster.

¥                Three years, four months: DTap/IPV; MMR.

 

 

8. How would you describe your relationship with your partner since the birth of your child?

 

a) It's good. We're both happy. (0 points)

 

b) It's changed but we're adjusting well. (0 points)

A new baby is a massive change and itÕs normal for this to affect your relationship.

More on relationships

 

c) We're arguing a lot more than usual. I'm worried about our relationship. (1 point)

Many couples have difficulties at this time. But if youÕre worried, speak to your local branch of Relate.

More on relationships

 

d) My partner is aggressive and violent towards me. (3 points)

Domestic violence is a serious offence. For advice, call the free 24-hour helpline on 0808 200 0247.

Domestic violence advice

 

e) I'm not in a relationship at the moment. (1 point)

Bringing up a child on your own has its pressures. If youÕre struggling, speak to your health visitor.

Bringing up a child on your own                         

 

 

9. How would you describe your stress level each day?

 

a) Very high most of the time. (3 points)

YouÕre certainly not alone if you feel a bit stressed. But if you feel unable to cope, speak to your GP.

 Coping with stress

 

b) Sometimes high. (2 points)

YouÕre certainly not alone if you feel a bit stressed. But if you feel unable to cope, speak to your GP.

Coping with stress

 

c) Same as normal. (0 points)

Well done: your stress levels are low, and youÕre clearly coping very well with being a parent.

 

d) My stress level is generally low. (0 points)

Well done: your stress levels are low, and youÕre clearly coping very well with being a parent.

 

Signs of unhealthy stress

 

Small children take a lot of looking after, but perhaps the most stressful thing is having to cope with everything else in life as well.

 

Sometimes you can feel as though life is out of control. If youÕre a person who likes to be in control and worries about things getting done, this can make you feel tense and frustrated.

 

Signs of unhealthy stress include:

¥                anger

¥                depression

¥                anxiety

¥                panic attacks

¥                chest pains

¥                dizziness 

 

 

IF YOUR CHILD IS BETWEEN SIX AND 18 MONTHS OLD:

 

10. How do you feel about starting your child on solid food?

 

a) I've already started. It's going well. (0 points)

 

b) I want to start but I'm not sure how to go about it. (1 point)

Weaning can seem daunting at first. Read our features and if you still have concerns, ask your health visitor for further advice.

 

c) I've started my child on solid food but they often spit it out. (1 point)

If your baby refuses solids, try different foods. At first, make them completely smooth.

 

d) My child is breastfeeding well. I don't want to start weaning yet. (1 point)

Breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months, after which solids should be introduced.

 

First steps to weaning

 

 

11. How do you feel about being back at work, or going back soon?

 

a) It's great. I'm enjoying being back at work. (0 points)

 

b) I'd like to know more about my rights at work now I'm a parent. (1 point)

ItÕs important to know your rights in the workplace so that your work fits in with family life.

Parental benefits and rights

 

c) I'm due back soon and I'm worried about choosing the right childcare. (1 point)

There are many childcare options available. Take your time to consider whatÕs best for you and your child.

Childcare guide

 

d) I'm worried about money. Can I claim any benefits or tax credits? (2 points)

If youÕre on a low income, you may be entitled to benefits and/or tax credits. See Useful links.

Parental benefits and rights

 

e) I feel nervous about leaving my child. (2 points)

Going back to work can be a big step. Speak to your employer about any concerns you have.

 

f) I'm back at work. I'm finding it stressful and tiring. (2 points)

If work is stressful, consider talking to your employer about flexible working.

Coping with stress

 

g) I'm not planning to work in the near future. (0 points)

 

 

12. Have you made any of the following changes to your home to protect your child from accidents? You can pick more than one:

 

a) Fitted locks to cupboards and windows.

 

b) Put medicines, bleach and other harmful substances out of reach.

 

c) Installed a smoke detector.

 

d) Fitted a stair gate.

 

e) Covered electrical sockets.

 

f) None of these.

 

 

Safety for under-fives

 

Accidents are one of the leading causes of death among children aged between one and five. Every year, about 500,000 children under five go to hospital because of an accident in the home.

 

Exploring and playing are an essential part of learning and children shouldn't be wrapped in cotton wool. Bumps and bruises are inevitable, but you can do some simple things to make sure your child doesnÕt get seriously injured.

 

 

13. Is your child eating as healthily as you would like?

 

a) Yes, they eat a healthy, well-balanced diet including five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. (0 points)

 

b) They eat well but not enough fruit and vegetables. (1 point)

Be creative with fruit and vegetables. Include them in the foods your child loves, like pizza and pasta.

 

c) I have trouble getting them to eat any food. (2 points)

Cooking with kids can encourage them to eat. If youÕd like more advice, speak to your health visitor.

Problems with eating

 

d) I can't afford healthy food. It costs a lot more than the food I buy. (1 point)

Read our feature about affordable healthy foods. You can also get advice from your health visitor.

 

e) I think my child overeats, especially things like crisps and chocolate. (3 points)

If your child is overeating, speak to your health visitor for advice on healthy eating. See Useful links.

 

f) I'm not sure. (2 points)

Speak to your health visitor about what sorts of your child should be eating and what to avoid.

Healthy meal ideas

 

14. How difficult is your child's behaviour?

 

a) Very difficult and unpredictable. (2 points)

 

b) Often difficult. (1 point)

 

c) Sometimes difficult. (1 point)

 

d) Not difficult at all. (0 points)

 

If your childÕs behaviour is sometimes difficult, or getting worse, you may find it helpful to speak to your health visitor about how to deal with it.

Understanding difficult behaviour

 

More on toddler tantrums

 

Temper tantrums usually start at around 18 months. TheyÕre very common at that age: one in five two year olds has a temper tantrum every day. One reason for this is that two year olds really want to express themselves, but find it difficult.

 

They feel frustrated and the frustration comes out as a tantrum. Once a child can talk more, theyÕre less likely to have tantrums. Tantrums are far less common by about the age of four.

 

 

15. If your child is starting school or pre-school soon, how do you feel about it?

 

a) Fine. I've talked to the teachers and they're aware of my child's needs. (? points?)

 

b) I'm not sure how to prepare my child for their first day. (? points?)

Prepare your child for school or pre-school by telling them all about it. Reassure them that it will be fun and take them there for a visit so that they know what to expect.

 

c) I'm worried that my child won't settle in. (? points?)

If youÕre concerned about your child, speak to someone at the school about your concerns and discuss ways to help them settle in.

 

d) My child isn't about to start school. (? points?)

 

Starting school

 

School starting dates

 

Legally, children must start formal education no later than the beginning of the school term following their fifth birthday. Many infant and primary schools admit children to their reception classes when they are four.

 

If you're offered a school place for your child when they're four, but would rather they started school later in the school year, you can ask the school to defer entry. But you must take the place during that school year. You canÕt hold it over to the next year.

 

Schools can only offer a certain number of places, so start looking early. You can get a list of local schools and information about them from your local education department

 

 

16. If youÕre not planning another pregnancy yet, are you using contraception?

 

a) Yes, IÕm already using contraception. (? points?)

 

b) IÕm breastfeeding so I donÕt think I need any. (? points?)

It is possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding. Use contraception if you donÕt want to have another baby.

 

c) IÕm not ready to have sex yet so I donÕt need it. (? points?)

ItÕs good idea to think about contraception. That way, if you do feel ready for sex, itÕs already sorted out.

 

d) I want to but IÕm not sure which type to use. (? points?)

There are many types of contraception available. Your GP, health visitor or local GUM clinic can advise you.

 

e) No, IÕm not using any. (? points?)

There are many types of contraception available. Your GP, health visitor or local GUM clinic can advise you.

 

Contraception guide

 

Contraception and breast feeding

 

You can get pregnant as little as three weeks after the birth of a baby. This can happen even if you're breastfeeding, and even if you havenÕt started your periods again.

 

You can use male and female condoms as soon as you feel ready to have sex. The combined pill, progestogen-only pill and contraceptive implants can be used from 21 days after the birth. However, the combined pill is not recommended if you're breastfeeding, as it can affect your milk supply.

 

You can usually have a contraceptive injection or start using a diaphragm or cap around six weeks after giving birth. If you used a diaphragm or cap before becoming pregnant, see your GP or family planning clinic to ensure that it still fits correctly, as childbirth and other factors such as weight loss/gain can have a significant effect. An IUD (coil) or IUS can usually be fitted six to eight weeks after giving birth.

 

RESULTS

 

A bulleted list is generated depending on answers given. The answers that will form this list are given in italics above.

 

0-6 points

Based on your answers today it seems you are doing really well, which is great. The advice in italics and links may be of interest.

 

6-15 points

Based on your answers today it seems you are doing well but having some problems in a few areas. The advice in italics and links may be of interest.

 

15-31 points

Based on your answers today it seems you are finding some things difficult at the moment. The advice in italics and links may be of interest. Your health visitor is available if you want to talk to someone.

 

 

NHS Choices 2013