How to Put a Stubborn Toddler in a Car Seat

You already have underwear, pants and a shirt for your little one who really wants to live life to the fullest. They reluctantly agreed to socks and shoes, and you managed to brush their teeth for the required eight seconds, which is considered thorough for this age group. And now you have to put the most controversial creature known to mankind in their car seat.

It’s no secret that tiny little people aged 2 to 3 years are very stubborn. And when you try to seat them in a chair – with the obligatory buckles – their defiance can skyrocket. Here are some tips on how to buckle them up without a fight.

Make them think it’s their idea

Instead of telling them something else they need to do, give them the opportunity to tell you. Pretend to be dumb and pretend not to know what’s next in your morning routine. “Okay, we got dressed, had breakfast, brushed our teeth … what should we do next?” This will most likely knock the toddler out of the game and pique his interest. In response, say: “Are we going to run around the neighborhood? Oh wait, I know it’s time to take a nap! “Silly suggestions can make them laugh and make them want to correct you:” No, we’re going to the car . “

(Results may vary. They may just play your own game with you and say, “Now we go turd.” In that case, go to step two.)

Make it a game

However you think, I don’t want to turn it into a game, I just want them to do it , whatever is interesting makes the little ones feel less resilient. Say, “I think I’ll get there faster than you!” can rekindle their sense of play and give them pleasure to scream, “I’m winning!” If you put a special toy in the car the night before and ask them to guess what it is, they will quickly spend their money on a ride in the car for the surprise.

(Other ways to spark excitement are listening to their favorite music, playing I Spy, counting school buses, or “lawnmower hunting” as you struggle to find a garden truck – or whatever they’re currently obsessed with – and stop. to look for a minute.)

Give them a choice

Like the rest of us, toddlers just want to feel like they have strength and composure. Asking them questions about nonessential things like walking order: “Do you want to go first or second?” what would they like to bring: “Do you want this truck or this truck?” or how they want to get into the car: “Do you want to get in on your own, or do you want me to put you in?” can make them feel like they are running the show themselves.

Give them a job

Allowing them to participate helps them feel capable, which can curb their urge to get mad at the car (you). They can be official “key checkers” (make sure you have the keys before leaving) or “buckles” when they are in the car seat. Anything that gives them a sense of purpose and contribution can lead to better collaboration.

Sympathize

Take a moment to empathize with their situation. If someone rushed you every day to get ready when you just wanted to play and made the vast majority of decisions that affect your life, wouldn’t you be a little angry too? Treat your emotions. Say something like, “I know you don’t want to sit in your seat. I see you are angry. Allow this sincere compassion to flow. Then continue with the words: “But if we do not sit down, we will not be able to go anywhere with pleasure.”

Blame someone, someone else

When a toddler sees you as an enemy, the basic tasks of daily life become much more difficult. Saying that it’s not you who make the decision can help reduce their anxiety. For example, “The doctor says we have to sit in your seat to keep you safe” (softly) or “If I don’t buckle you, I’ll get in trouble with the police” (a little vicious, but still true!) help them put off the blame – at least until tomorrow.

Keep calm but firm

Admittedly, this part is difficult when the child screams, flounders, slides like a jellyfish on the seat, and pulls on the boards to avoid being strapped in. When you want to scream, “Just get in the GD car seat or we“ stay inside forever, ”breathe.

Take literally a step back. Breathe again. Mutter swears under his breath if necessary. But as soon as you blow the gasket, you are back to square one. Summon all your composure and say, “We can’t go anywhere until you sit in your seat.” On some days, this will lead to literal confrontation. They are standing. You are standing. And you both are waiting to see who breaks first. For this, smartphones were created. Tell them: “I will sit down”; let me know when you’re ready, ”and scroll through your big feelings while you wait until you get bored.

Tell them an alternative

When you’ve used up the other tools in your arsenal (or you really need to leave because your boss is expecting these reports at 9 AM), you can choose, “Okay. If you don’t sit in your seat, I will seat you in your seat. Do you want to do it yourself or do you want me to do it? “As they pull the final power step and move further away from you, narrate what is about to happen:” Okay, I’m going to pick you up now … ” they will be damned if you take everything they fought for this morning.

Consequences and bribery

While probably no parenting expert would agree, every parent knows how quickly the desperate can help: “If you don’t get in your car, then you won’t be helped.” While the two are completely unrelated, and you’ll almost certainly forget and treat them later, it doesn’t really matter. Because as soon as the threat of an evening without cookies appears on the table, your little one will be in that car seat before you can say, “It’s about five o’clock now.”

Alternatively, you can skip all of this and use the Almighty Snack. Have them take whatever you wouldn’t normally give them at 8:30 in the morning and bury themselves. Like an adult sneaking candy into a movie theater, they will feel like winners. And filled with that smug joy, they will probably deign to satisfy your request for a car seat.

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