Keeping A Toddler Happy In The Car

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 12.15.55 PMI have two toddlers.  Just when I think my kids are content with car rides, one decides to arch their back and scream when I gently place the first car seat strap over their arm.  Or better yet, my oldest who likes to “do it all by myself” proceeds to climb into every other spot in the car except for into his car seat.  It can be a real circus when they both are putting up a fight before an excursion that we are usually already getting a late start for.
When things get chaotic in my car, I remind myself that sometimes they are happy in the car and sometimes we get from point A to point B without a struggle.  I force myself to remember the tactics that work and put them back into action.
Get them excited about the trip before even getting ready to get near the car.  Tell them where they are going and why they are going there.  Act really excited yourself about your trip while you talk about it.  I catch myself sounding really fake when I talk up what fun we will have at the grocery store to my 15 month old.  She doesn’t always buy it, but when I tell her we are going to (eventually after running a few errands) pick up her brother from preschool, she is all in.
Dress them in comfortable clothing.  This is a bigger deal than I thought it was.  Ever since my older toddler started telling me what he needs and wants all the time, he started expressing his discomfort in his car seat. I learned that sometimes his pants were too tight, or his shirt was stuck somewhere on his arms where he didn’t want it.  I try to keep this in mind when dressing both my toddlers now.  Comfort in the car comes before that adorable jean overall dress that fits my daughter awkwardly in her car seat.
Have distractions ready.  I’m talking about toys that the little ones either haven’t seen or played with in months or objects that they have never had the privilege of holding before.  Of course they should be safe.  Trust me, I’ve given some items in my garage a desperate double take, but used my better judgment.  If I don’t have decent distraction items, the shoes and socks come off within minutes of pulling out of my driveway and get thrown all around.  It is obvious how many errands I ran in a week with my kids, by looking at the floor of my backseat.
Play Kid Music.  It can definitely be annoying to have to listen to kid songs in the car, but the results can be worth getting those silly songs stuck in your head randomly throughout the day.
Sarah Cole is a stay at home mom to two busy toddlers and finds that sometimes it can be easier to just stay home.

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