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3 year old refusing to get out of car: tips?

(6 Posts)
CustardSliceKid Sun 06-Jan-19 21:09:29

Kind of as the title says, really. We bought our first car a few months ago and since then, we've been keen to get out and about, try some soft play places we couldn't get to before, more family trips out, etc. Except we have a problem: DS (3) generally refuses to get out of the car on arrival. And it's starting to get really wearing!

He's done this to DM as well over Christmas so not just us, and he is very used to car travel. But this refusal to get out is wearing. And once we eventually get him out (persuasion, sergeant-major style, bribery, force - you name it, we've tried it), he often refuses to do whatever it is we've gone to do.

Now, a trip to a country park: no problem, he can ride in the buggy.
But today was a trip to an activity place - he was excited, I asked him if he wanted to go and he said yes, we drove there, and he refused to get out of the car. Eventually agreed, we got him into the activity place - and he refused to participate. After 35 minutes, we gave up and came home.

I can't work out what is going on, which affects how we handle it. I think it's a mixture of anxiety about anything new/unfamiliar, and a control/power thing - he is a proper threenager at the moment and is really flexing his muscles some days. But today, it was a parent-child activity so it's not like he would have had to go off by himself - I would have been, quite literally, holding his hand.

Of course, the simple solution is that for the next month or so, we'll avoid trips out to anywhere with an entry fee where the buggy is not an option. But I'd be interested to know how others would handle it and what we might do to break the cycle?

OP’s posts: |
lovely36 Sun 06-Jan-19 21:56:34

Hmm.. have you asked him why he doesn't want to get out?

CustardSliceKid Sun 06-Jan-19 22:17:01

Yup. Get no sense out of him. Just says he wants to stay in the car and doesn't want to go in. Have had some comments about it being cold outside (no shit) which are usually met with a breezy "well, it'll be warm in soft play".

The last few times, I have said that we can leave but going straight home to watch Peppa Pig (current activity of choice) is not on the menu so we can go into soft play for a go on the slide, or we can go for a drive/do Mummy jobs in the car. This has generally worked in the end.

What gets me is that these are all activities he enjoys and, once he can be persuaded to participate, he has a ball. It's just getting him to try it....

OP’s posts: |
CustardSliceKid Sun 06-Jan-19 22:18:48

And now it's not even getting him out of the car, it's getting him to try whatever it is. I feel like an idiot trying to persuade a three year old to go down a slide and only do so because I know he'll have a good time once he's over the hump....

OP’s posts: |
lovely36 Sun 06-Jan-19 22:34:21

That must be so frustrating! I'm sorry I wish I could help but if you say you've tried everything what more can you keep trying, it must be exhausting!

CustardSliceKid Sun 06-Jan-19 22:36:43

Well, we've just decided to give it a break for a few weeks to see if it breaks the cycle, once he's back into the normal work-childcare rhythm - hoping it's linked to excitement/lack of routine over Christmas. He is stubborn though!

I honestly don't know how to handle it!

OP’s posts: |

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