How to Deal With a Screaming Toddler in the Car
Toddlers are an odd breed. They are old enough to think they know what they want and they aren’t afraid to make demands. However, they are still too young to actually do most of what they want, leading to a battle of wills between many parents and their tiny dictators. One place parents might find the most challenging to deal with the demands of a toddler is in the car—and it’s also one of the most dangerous. Learn the best ways to deal with a tantrum-throwing two-year-old without endangering any lives.
Road Trip Tips: Things to take with you on your next journey
Car Seat Struggles
A car seat is, without a doubt, the safest place for a toddler inside a vehicle. Not only that, but all states require toddlers to be buckled into a car seat until they reach a certain age or weight limit. However, toddlers are not rational creatures, and therefore don’t understand why they have to be restrained while in the car, leading to monster tantrums. Rather than losing your cool, The Car Seat Lady recommends distracting your screaming toddler with a soft toy or book. You might even leave a small selection of car-only toys in your vehicle so your toddler has something to look forward to on every trip.
Long Road Trips
Long drives in the car are boring for most adults, so imagine how awful they must be for two- or three-year-olds who have little to no understanding of time. Again, distraction is key here. Play your child’s favorite music and encourage them to sing along to the music. If you don’t have access to kid-friendly music, simply sing your toddler’s favorite songs. And before you set out on a long trip, make sure you have packed plenty of distractions for your tot—whether that’s an annoying singing toy (that is marginally less annoying than the grating sound of your little angel screaming for 30 minutes straight) or a kid-friendly tablet loaded with fun games and favorite TV shows. RealSimple.com has a handy checklist with suggestions for kids’ road trip essentials.
Ignore, Ignore, Ignore
It might be hard to ignore the fits of a screaming child, but giving in to your child’s unreasonable demands will feed into the tantrum and make it worse. Especially when driving, your attention needs to be on what you are doing rather than on calming down your toddler. AlphaMom.com points out that your child is perfectly safe buckled into their seat, so just concentrate on driving and let the tantrum run its course.
Don’t Forget Snacks
Toddlers tend to get hungry at the most inopportune times, so it’s important to always be prepared with an array of healthy snacks. The Car Seat Lady recommends bringing along cereal or other non-chokable treats for your toddler to enjoy while on the road. Of course, you also need to remember a drink to wash down that snack, so don’t forget to pack a sippy cup of water before leaving the house.
Catherine Hiles is a native Brit currently based in Dayton, Ohio. Don’t ask how that happened. Cat has written about a variety of subjects, from dog training to fashion, and counts running and cooking among her hobbies.
Cat lives with her husband, Ben; their daughter, Rose; and their collection of animals, including an energetic mutt, an elderly basset hound, and a jerk cat. See more articles by Cat.