Three year old massive tantrums about getting in car seat(13 Posts)
We are having problems with our three year old getting in her car seat. If she doesn't want to she will throw a massive tantrum that can go on for ages. My DH is still at nursery 40 mins after it's closed because she will not get in the seat. It's difficult to manhandle her into it. We've recently introduced stickers as a reward for getting in but it doesn't always work. I've tried putting her outside the car for a timeout but that can be dangerous, last time she ran off down the road!
Completely at a loss as to what to do, not sure upping the bribery level will work. She wants to be like her older sisters who don't need seats but of course she can't.
I have never come across any other child who does this, they all just climb happily in.
Does anyone have any suggestions??
It's not a choice. It's mandatory. Manhandle her in and stop allowing her to waste 40 minutes of family time.
Biscuits.... known as ‘strop mitigation devices’ in our house!
I'd probably try and solve this with smarties. Two smarties if you get in the car without any fuss. One smartie if there's a whinge. No smarties for a big fuss.
Sticker charts wouldn't have worked for my three year olds as the reward isn't instant enough. So I'd try smarties.
Manhandle her (appropriately and without hurting her) into the seat.
If she screams, so be it.
She’s 3yo. She’s testing her boundaries, that’s fine but you are still in charge.
Have you tried any distraction techniques to stop it getting that far though? I’ve brought your favourite dolly, book, snack etc as a surprise, it’s in the car let’s go get it quick.
Get in your seat quickly, I have Disney music to play all the way home!
Etc etc etc.
I hear ya, OP. my DS is nearly 6 and still does this sometimes. Obviously impossible to manhandle him in and if you manage it he can still undo his belt anyway.
If he was younger, I'd definitely go down the route of making it clear it's not optional. If that's totally physically impossible though, my DS often responds to distraction techniques - hauling him out of the car, a quick walk around and pointing out the trees or whatever and then back into the car seat whilst talking about the new topic (and not mentioning in any way the fact that you're currently strapping him in!).
We've tried many distraction things, they might work once but mostly not. She gets so worked up that she's beyond listening to anything you say. I don't think we can manhandle her in without hurting her, and obviously don't want to do that. My DH would definitely do that if he could be sure she wouldn't end up being hurt. She's quite strong, and sort of slides down the seat awkwardly and does that arms out of sockets thing that makes her hard to hold on to. I also struggle to hold her in and do the straps up as it difficult to do one-handed.
We haven't tried biscuits or chocolate - we did do that sort of thing with potty training and were able to phase it out quickly but I don't know if it will be the same for the car seat as she didn't tantrum over potty training.
Could be worth a try!
I think part of the difficulty is it's unpredictable, you can't tell when she's going to do it or how long she'll resist for. She can be fine for days and then randomly have a huge tantrum for no reason. We have tried asking her about the seat and why she sometimes doesn't want to get in but she can't really explain.
He either needs ignore it. Let her slide out, tantrum it out in the car, he can wait outside ignoring. Calmly explaining what needs to happen (no pleading etc) just a "sit down properly"
Or he needs to shock her into silence. And then get her to comply.
She's only doing it because she can, and has the power and possibly 40 minutes of undivided attention
She won't be able to explain if the reason is basically control or attention. She's three.
As for kk patterns. There will be a pattern. She's tired. It's only with dad. It's every Thursday. It's a later pick up or a combination
Put your knee against the bottom of the car seat, so she can't slide down. It literally takes seconds. Once she realises you mean business, the struggling will stop over time. She pushing her luck, but my mind is boggled at the thought of your DH still being outside nursery for 40 minutes because a 3 year old won't get in a carseat. You tell her to get in, don't ask. If she plays up you put her in. No discussion, no rewards, no bribery.
Would a car seat with an impact shield be easier to get her into?
Smarties. My large 2yrs 3 months son has been plating around, I can put him in but not safely harness him as he slumps and kicks and twats about. I tell him he can have a smarty if he sits nicely for mummy to do the straps . Works a treat. So far........
Check to make sure there is nothing poking out of the seat. It’s unlikely but I saw a Facebook post where the child was acting in this way and it turned out there was a piece of sharp plastic poking into her back. Hence the screaming.
Worth a go anyway
My DD used to have times when it was nearly impossible to get her in the car seat, she was/is incredibly strong and there really was no way I could force her in if she was having a tantrum, she really was like some kind of enraged snake, also pg at the time. However it did always seem to happen when she was tired, after nursery, swimming etc.... We just made it very clear that it was non negotiable and talked to her about why she had to sit in it, when she was calm. Also sometimes she freaked out when you rushed her, 'come on, quick, quick ' etc leaned quickly not to do that. It's a stage, just stay firm and calm!
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