One of our lovely readers is currently dealing with his toddler refusing to go in his car seats, bursting into a tantrum every time they need to ride in the car. Below you will find the tips we shared with her today to get your child to cooperate and ride happily in his car seat:
1. Even at 2 years old, books really help explain situations/rules/and how things work. Start by reading these 2 books to your little one at night time: All buckled up and Better Buckle up specifically discuss car safety. You will also find references in most of Dora the Explorer books and Daniel the Tiger - which tend to appeal to toddlers.
2. It also helps to talk about the carseat, and how we all need it BEFORE going into the car, and reminding him that he will be riding on it. Giving a heads up to a little toddler help them prepare for what's to come.
3. He might be a bit young for a prize/reward, but definitely praise him for being compliant once you manage to get him in. (it might be hard for him to truly understand the consequence of doing what you want and getting a prize at only 2 years old).
4. Practice getting in the car seat when you aren't in a rush - just plan a leisure drive, knowing you'll have time to work with him. Give him a heads up, and work patiently to get him in. It will take more time but you will know you aren't in a hurry and can figure out if this is just a power struggle or he truly is uncomfortable (or maybe he remembers one day when he was too tight and is scared to do it again?).
5. Now about the specific car seat. In my experience dealing with car seats... some of them can be quite uncomfortable. Some are more reclined than others, some more padded, or perhaps he feels the straps are too tight or hurt his shoulders or thighs (have you moved the straps up as he grows?). It might be a good idea to play with it outside the car and see if there's a way you can make it a bit more comfortable for him. Maybe you can decorate it, make into a pretend superhero car, etc.
In conclusion: don't give up. Car safety is really important, and remember you can make it work, with the tactics explained above. You got this!