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Scientist finally finds a formula to prevent children’s tantrums in cars

Scientist finally finds a formula to prevent children's tantrums in cars

It’s a scientific development that parents have been waiting for generations for: how to keep children from freaking out during car rides. If you’ve ever ridden with a kid, you know that the occasional rear seat collapse is the norm. A statistician has put together a precise formula to predict the probability of a tantrum. Read on to find out how to keep the peace the next time you travel with little ones.

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dr. James Hind of Nottingham Trent University interviewed 2,000 parents and found that the average time it takes a child to have a tantrum during a car ride is 70 minutes. He used that and other data to put together the following formula:

T = 70 + 0.5E + 15F – 10S

Translation: Every minute a child is entertained decreases the likelihood of a tantrum (E). Food (F) can delay a rear seat collapse by 15 minutes. But having siblings (S) in the car was found to reduce drift-free time by 10 minutes. The statistician also found that the average child will ask “are we there yet?” 32 minutes in a car ride, and will ask a total of four times.

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“If you only have one kid, and you can keep them busy and bribe them with food every now and then, you can drive for two hours drift-free,” Hind said. “Unfortunately, two kids with no entertainment and no snacks can throw a tantrum in just 40 minutes. Snacks are important, but there’s a limit to how much they can help, so keep them to no more than two an hour. Entertainment is key, but even that failed with really long travel times.”

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The survey found that boredom is the No. 1 cause of backseat tantrums, as cited by 68% of parents, followed by the journey taking too long (62%) and children who are hungry (57%). “Taking breaks to ‘reset the clock’ is important to avoid tantrums and make sure you don’t get tired while driving,” Hind says.

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The british sun recently published a series of hacks to prevent children from throwing tantrums during car rides. They include scheduling training breaks; traveling at night, so part of the journey takes place when children are asleep; talk about the importance of wearing seat belts for the trip; and play interactive games that involve all of you.

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An expert told Parents magazine that if a tantrum does occur, it is best to ignore it (unless it involves aggression towards others). “Turn up your music, sing a song to yourself, and focus on the road,” suggests Marni Axelrad, Ph.D., a child psychologist at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. If you can’t concentrate, stop, but keep ignoring the tantrum thrower until the drama ends.