Getting Rid of Car Seat Tantrums

Help! My kids won't get buckled! We're going to be late!

How do I manage getting kids into the car without it turning into some drawn out battle of wills?

I asked readers “Anyone have ideas to help with dawdling while getting buckled up in the car?”
I received some really helpful answers.  If you've got a child who throws a tantrum or dawdles while getting buckled, maybe one of these ideas will help.

Tips on taking the battle out of buckling up

Offer a chance, then help-

From Clara: For things that *must* get done, I offer them a chance to do it themselves, and then I help them. “L, go ahead and get yourself buckled.” <nothing> “L, we need to get moving, so I will help you (while I'm helping) and you can show me how you do it when we drive home.”

Make it a game-

From Natalie:…Another thing he loves is to race and win, so as we are heading towards the car we have racing games (“Can you beat Mummy putting Matilda in her seat?”).

Use Imagination and Pretend-

From Tricia: We do the can you beat mommy game too…it's very effective, but you could also do pretend play. As in, “L, lets pretend we are going on a rocket to the moon. We have a check list, put on your space helmet. (Pretend to put it on.) Is it on? Check! Now we must fasten our seat belts! Is yours on? Check! Now we have to do our count down, 10,9,8,…..3,2,1! Blast Off! Start going as you blast off. You could also do it with a train, boat, race car, or any other mode of transportation. It's a little more work, but so much fun for your little one.

Tips Especially Helpful for Toddlers:

Keep a few toys in the door of the car that are only used during buckling up time. Rotate these from time to time so they stay exciting.  Hand one of these to your child with great excitement as you set them in their seat.

Ask your toddlers for help and let their hands “push” your to buckle. (I know – this definitely only works for some kids…)

Got any tips for reducing car seat tantrums?  Share them here!

And for an important aside, as I was working on this post, I can across this fantastic Picture Guide to Car Seat Safety from Daily Momtra. Check it out and after you get the kid buckled, make sure they're safe!