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2.10 year old post nursery battle - is there anyway I could have done better?

(20 Posts)
Mrscog Mon 05-Jan-15 22:24:22

Right, DS is 2.10 and I have problems getting him in the car after nursery. To set the scene, the nursery car park is quite dark and next to a very busy road in a rural area. The car park is fenced off, but he could still run off and get into harm. I am also 25 weeks pg with terrible SPD so I'm not very strong/mobile.

DS has been particularly strong willed as a 2 year old, and no punishments have really been sucessful other than the withdrawal of a toy and lots of pinning down for teeth/dressing etc. Shouting has no effect either (which is good really as I don't want to shout at him).

Ok, so that's the scene set. Tonight we walked out of nursery holding hands, lots of 'be a good boy and hold Mummy's hand in the car park DS, oh well done, that's such nice walking, right now hold onto the car door while Mummy unlocks it, well done' etc. you get the idea and actually I felt like we were making progress as he was really good.

He then climbed in (his choice) and just knelt in his car seat looking over into the front, and trying to climb over it to have 'fun in the car Mummy' at this point (it was 5.30, dark and freezing) I tried to be all fun and kind, and I said not today DS, it's time to go home, I'm going to count to five then your bottom needs to be on the seat. I counted to 5, then he demanded I counted to 10, I said 'ok but that's the last chance, if I get to 10 and your bottom is not on the seat, Mummy will just have to force you'.

Lo and behold, I get to 10 and he's still messing around. So I scoop him up and hold him in the seat whilst I start doing the straps up. Hi kicked me, and repeatedly slaped me in the face. I held his hands and said, no hitting, that's not nice, don't hit when you're angry. But he kept on doing it. So then I warned him that I would take his rabbit and blanket off him for the car journey if he did it again. More slapping, and scratching at my face, I just about managed to get him strapped in, then I whisked rabbit and blanket away and drove off.

He was absolutely hysterical all the way home (20 mins), and for 15 mins when we got home. I tried talking to him after about how I wouldn't accept hitting, and that's why he lost his toy but he wouldn't even look me in the eye. sad I've been over and over this in my head, is there ANYTHING I could have done better? It made me so sad that I had to make him so sad, but equally I cannot accept being repeatedly slapped in the face, and the situation (of needing to keep him in the car for safety) meant I was very limited in my options. Did I do ok?

Gunpowder Mon 05-Jan-15 22:27:59

My sympathies, I'm pregnant with a strong willed 2 year old too and it is so tough. I don't think there is anything you could have done better, and you were amazing to keep your cool. In the absence of wine have some brew .

Iggly Mon 05-Jan-15 22:28:03

He sounded tired.

I used to give ds a little toy he'd not seen or a magazine or, when desperate, my phone to play with (I had videos of peppa especially) - he would have been a similar age. I gave it as I got him in the car and he kept it for the journey home.

I wouldn't have threatened to remove anything because it makes it harder for you plus he's tired and tired 2 year olds cannot be reasoned with. Sometimes you've got to take the easy road.

Mrscog Mon 05-Jan-15 22:30:08

Yes iggly he probably was tired, it was his first proper full day for a fortnight. I quite like the idea of an occasional TV in the car bribe for the occasions while I'm pg and super tired and just need compliancy. Might try that.

Gunpowder Mon 05-Jan-15 22:30:48

And of course you can't accept hitting! DD sometimes hits/bites/scratches me too. I think they are like tiny cave people and if they are tired/hungry/upset that's how they express it. It's horrid but I don't think it makes us bad parents. Hopefully they will be better when they're 3!

GoogleyEyes Mon 05-Jan-15 22:32:05

Have you tried a snack to be given as soon as he's strapped into the car seat (and not before)?

Iggly Mon 05-Jan-15 22:32:08

You did well to keep calm! My ds is now 5 and doesn't request TV inthe car so no damage done (I had a newborn to deal with so it wasn't even a bribe - I just gave it to him,he went quiet and I could strap him in!)

firstposts Mon 05-Jan-15 22:36:47

Honestly, you did fine. My DS has had 'post nursery' tantrums that sound very similar. Im sure he loves you hugely and unconditionally, he was just overwhelmed with emotions that felt too big for him. He won't be holding a grudge and will have forgotten it by now smile

If it helps a 5 minute car journey back from nursery once took 45 minutes as my DS had learnt how to undo his seatbelt shock every time I moved off he unclipped it. I pulled over put in back in, he unclipped it again. All the while he was screaming and trying to hit me. No idea what triggered it but thankfully it was a one off.

RoseTheHat Mon 05-Jan-15 22:37:09

Sorry you both had a bad time, Two year olds are so hard. I would have struggled in this situation with dc1...but as a parent you do learn from experience and with dc2 I wouldn't have even blinked at pinning him down and strapping him in immediately, none of this counting down on a freezing January afternoon! and I wouldn't have taken his blanket and toy away. That's just making things harder for you driving home and imo two year olds don't learn from this kind of punishment.

Mrscog Mon 05-Jan-15 22:45:43

Like the idea of a snack too, it's so hard when you've been at work all day and you just want to have a nice chat and then they pull out the aggression which obviously needs to be dealt with. As for keeping calm, well it was my New Years resolution, as pre Christmas we had some similar battles but I ended up feeling furious with him, which I really don't want to as he's so young and learning, but god it's hard isn't it?!

Bonkerz Mon 05-Jan-15 22:50:40

Talk to the nursery staff and ask if one of them minds taking him to the car for you. They could have a sticker chart for him and use that as a reward with a snack to have once in his seat. It appears to be entered around you and it's an awkward time and he will pick up on your hesitance and frustration

DancingCrown Mon 05-Jan-15 23:02:42

Ds gets really tired after nursery and we have had a few memorable episodes. He won't leave the bloody nursery and more than once I have had to pull him off the climbing frame! I'm very grateful I haven't had to deal with that while pregnant.

As a parent I bet you are doing your best. Its easy to look back and analyse your every move but better to use it as a learning opportunity and then leave it behind you.

I would have a quiet chat to him when he's not upset (they won't take it in once they are, although I find it hard not to go on and on at ds once he's pushed something like this). Say that he has to sit in his seat for safety reasons and that you expect him to do XYZ eg stand sensibly while you open the car, climb in his seat himself etc. Quick reminder of expectations at the nursery door once you pick him up.

Ds is older now but after his story at bedtime we talk about our day, favourite bits and bits we didn't like. This is a good time to bring up behaviour issues or if mummy loses her rag a bit.

Ds likes it if we leave a toy strapped in his car seat. I wouldn't take the rabbit and blanket away next time. He will be feeling ashamed as he'll know he was bad and it'll just escalate things. Can you use the rabbit as reward, remind him he will get it once he is strapped in?

PookBob Mon 05-Jan-15 23:07:20

I take a drink and a snack for pick up time, it's the only way I can get DD to calmly leave and get in the car. Tiredness and hunger/thirst is the root of all tantrums in my house. Oh, and needing a wee but not wanting to admit it.

Mrscog Tue 06-Jan-15 08:54:06

Thanks everyone, I'm armed with a box of raisins today and have promised the Peppa Pig songs if he's a good boy, so fingers crossed.

GoogleyEyes Tue 06-Jan-15 09:32:19

Let us know how it goes!

Iggly Tue 06-Jan-15 09:36:16

I chuckled at this: it's so hard when you've been at work all day and you just want to have a nice chat

My two just want snacks and a drink now after school/nursery. No chats!

Mrscog Tue 06-Jan-15 09:45:16

YY Iggly, I suspect DS is the same :D

Mrscog Tue 06-Jan-15 20:11:21

The raisins worked! Sat down so nicely - it only took 1 min to walk across the car park, get him in and then be driving off, and we were both in much better moods all evening.

Thanks so much everyone smile

Mrscog Tue 06-Jan-15 20:12:22

And, rather than our tired slobbing out grouchy after work sofa time, he was super lovely not having fought me. I've never had so many kisses in my life! Even got one on my eye hmm

BeeRayKay Tue 06-Jan-15 20:22:50

Yay a nice ending. Hopefully it'll keep working. Sounds like he's hungry and I know I get the hanger (frustrated/angry/irritable when hugnry) and I'm 25. In my house it's a perfectly recognised feeling and even my 5 year old knows sometimes that could be whats causing her to be unreasonably mopey.

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