car seat battles with toddlers. HELP!!!

(14 Posts)
PrincessScrumpy Tue 25-Jun-13 14:31:24

I have 3 dds. dd1 is 5 and never gave me much of the "terrible twos", dtds however are making up for it. They are almost 22mo and it's the same everyday. We get in the car (dh helping - they do everything he asks with no problem but then has to go to work leaving me with two dc who pretty much do the opposite of what I say), we drive to dd1's school, walk to the playground, say goodbye, walk back to the car. All of this is calm and fairly straightforward. We reach the car, dtds are happy to climb into the car but then all hell breaks loose. They do not want to get in their seats.

I have tried being firm speaking in a calm but firm voice, allowing them to climb in themselves... they just try to climb into the driver's seat... bought them steering wheels for their car seats (which they like but not at 9.10am apparently). I've also placed them on the "naughty spot" while they calm down. It ends the same, me forcing them into their chairs and them pulling my hair, grabbing my glasses, pinching and biting. I generally get fully beaten up.

If I decide to take them to the park, all I'm thinking about it is "oh no I'll have the car battle before going home".

DH followed me to school this morning (we planned this) without dtds knowing. He observed so he could try and suggest what I'm doing wrong or could do differently. He intervened pretty quickly as he saw what was happening and as soon as he said "dd sit in your seat" she did (whilst still clutching the lump of hair she'd pulled from my head). Dh doesn't get why they do this for me either, so no nearer a solution.

It can take me 30minutes to get them safely in their car seats and I'm exhausted and dread it everyday. Any advice appreciated... really want to enjoy dtds but this makes any journeys hellish. (It's the same in their pushchair and they can climb out of that).

flossymuldoon Tue 25-Jun-13 15:41:59

I do feel for you as I've been there!!!
It might be about control. Whenever it happens they know exactly what is going to happen next (as the scenario will have played out the same every time) and that the situation is going to be totally out of your control and totally in theirs. I would suggest taking control back and see whether that works.

I calmly tell my DS that if he doesn't get in the car and sit down and let me fasten him in that he won't be allowed to come and he'd have to stay behind. I tell him it's ok if he doesn't want to come.

I take him back out of the car and stand him on the pavement, close his door and get into the car myself. If it's not safe to do that (such as supermarket car park etc) I tell him that he will have to go inside and the security guard will look after him, or that he will have to stay at nursery overnight etc.

I have never had to leave without him as it has never been about not wanting to get in the car, it's been about having control. It has worked from me from my DS being about the same age as yours.

Good luck!

ellesabe Tue 25-Jun-13 18:50:33

Personally I think it is a terrible idea to make a threat that you have no intention of following through.

It sounds like they are competing with each other for attention. Can you make it into some kind of competition with a reward for the dh who gets in their seats the quickest/nicest?

ellesabe Tue 25-Jun-13 18:51:10

*dt not dh!!!

Norem Tue 25-Jun-13 19:34:47

Do the dts have to go to school in the morning?
Do they have to get out of the car?
Could dh do the drop off ?

PrincessScrumpy Tue 25-Jun-13 20:28:33

Dh leaves for work at the same time as us so can't do drop off. He only came today as he took time owing and went to work late.
I have left them in the car to drop dd off as the car park is a church car park (linked to the church school) and there is a gate to the school but I cannot see the car from the play ground so really don't like doing it. Only do it if they are ill or asleep and then I run like a mad woman.

PrincessScrumpy Tue 25-Jun-13 20:30:02

Oh and yes they have to come to school in the morning as dh goes to work and all my family are well over an hour away.

stargirl1701 Tue 25-Jun-13 20:33:25

Could you break it down into steps? Then make an image for each step that they can 'post' into a box as they complete that step?

A faff but it might help.

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 25-Jun-13 20:37:25

I used to have this problem with DS. I then solved it with shameless bribery - gave him a treat (a toy he loved) that only came out when he was sitting in his car seat. Once he was distracted by that I would seraphim in. You could try that?

A few months on I don't even need to offer the toy btw. Seems ok now (touch wood).

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 25-Jun-13 20:40:47

Not seraphim but strap him in blush

Norem Tue 25-Jun-13 20:48:24

How about tickling them as you put them into cars eat so they are powerless to resist properly?

PrincessScrumpy Tue 25-Jun-13 20:58:12

The tantrums are beyond tickling it's full on ridged body, twisting from seat and any one getting in the way gets hit/bitten etc. a friend tried to get dtd1 in for me as sometimes dc do stuff for others but she battled her too.
bribing is my usual last resort but isn't working for this. Dtd2 wanted a book today (pm) so I might try that tomorrow am.

BarbarianMum Tue 25-Jun-13 22:33:38

I have a solution but it will take a few days to work.

You take twins to car. They climb into car, you shut door (child locks on). You tell them 'we will go when you are strapped in your seats. I will strap you in when you are sitting nicely.'

Then - and this is the hard bit - you wait. You wait til they are both sat nicely in their seats, then try strapping in. Any resistance you stop, shut the door and wait again. Same message 'we will go when you are strapped in your seats. I will strap you in when you are sitting nicely.'

The behaviour you are getting now is happening because its a habit. The above will break the habit but its a waiting game, so be prepared to 'invest' a lot of time initially.

mrswishywashy Tue 25-Jun-13 22:44:45

It does sound like a control issue since they changed so dramatically when your husband took over this morning.

I would just force them, a quick in car seat and then buckle them in with force. When they are sitting nicely I would give them a smartie, if they don't sit nicely no smartie but show them the pack. They probably are picking up your reluctant vibes if this has been going on a while so try not to let it show. I would also make the stop at the park on the way home and do the same thing. I wouldn't discuss and at their age keep sentences quite short eg "in your seat (then you can have a smartie)" and keep repeating. No magic answer only thing is to take control back.

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