How To Get Your Toddler Into A Car In 40 Steps

toddler-in-car Image via Shutterstock

1. Approximately two hours before you need to get into the car, start prepping your toddler for the event of clothes-wearing.

2. Bring out clothes and approach your toddler slowly and carefully and make clothes sound like fun.

3. Toddler remembers that they like to play hide and seek.

4. Remember Love and Logic and give your toddler a sensible choice of coming to you to put clothes on nicely or you coming to them and putting clothes on… not nicely?

5. Remember that coming up with viable choices for proper Love and Logic training is why you suck at Love and Logic training.

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6. Toddler suddenly remembers the rainbow band-aid that their brother got three weeks ago.

7. Toddler searches body frantically for possible owie.

8. Toddler finds suspect redness on their finger after squeezing their finger very hard.

9. Toddler declares that they now need a rainbow band-aid on their very injured finger.

10. You remember you inner commitment to being a “reasonable mom” with “firm boundaries” and you say, “You don’t need a band-aid right now.”

11. Toddler begins the Rainbow Band-aid Campaign. It is loud and persistent and convincing.

12. You lose the feeling in your limbs and possibly your will to live after listening to this campaign.

13. You no longer have any boundaries.

14. Five minutes later, your toddler walks proudly out of the bathroom with 15 different band-aids on various places of their body.

15. You convince yourself that this is a cute display of independence.

16. Toddler remembers that they are now a puppy and they begin to bark.

17. You remember (with excitement) that puppies are obedient! Tell your “puppy” to put on their clothes.

18. Toddler loves the puppy game and is almost completely dressed when they remember that their shirt is too heavy.

19. Your toddler begins to take off all of their clothes.

20. You decide to wrestle your toddler into clothes and you both cry.

21. You have your bag packed and you head towards the stairs.

22. You remember that your toddler doesn’t like to be carried on the stairs since yesterday.

23. At the top of the stairs, your toddler realizes that their legs have stopped working.

24. Your toddler is now crying because you aren’t carrying them, so you begin to pick them up.

25. Toddler then remembers how much they like ice cream and their Grandma and that they would like both of these things now, please.

26. You patiently tell them that you don’t eat ice cream for breakfast and that Grandma lives very far away.

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27. Your toddler tells you that you are in big trouble and that you will have to sit in time out. They are very angry.

28. You feel a little afraid, but then you realize that you only have five minutes left to get into the car and that grown-ups shouldn’t be afraid of two-year-olds.

29. You begin to pick your toddler up to carry them down the stairs, when your toddler remembers that the feeling of your arms is actually like thousands of independence-killing knives stabbing into their soul.

30. Toddler ends up walking to the car, all by themselves, indignantly.

31. Toddler wants to climb into the car, all by themselves.

32. The car is muddy so you are required to pick up your screaming, thrashing toddler and strap them into their car seat, while desperately trying to avoid their flailing limbs.

33. By the time you have made it to the driver’s seat, your toddler has stopped crying.

34. Toddler realizes that they are a Baby Mermaid. They insist that you tell them how cute they are and how shiny their tail is.

35. Your toddler would now like to know how cats work.

36. Your toddler now feels like the sun coming through the window is blinding their eyes forever.

37. Your toddler would now like you to sing, “The Wheels on The Bus.”

38. You begin to sing “The Wheels on The Bus” and your toddler tells you to stop singing. They are very angry.

39. You place your head on the steering wheel and feel your fragile mom psyche crack just a tiny bit.

40. You feel like you have climbed a thousand mountains, swum oceans, negotiated with terrorists, and have been trying to reason with someone who is tripping balls… but you have made it into a car with your toddler.

Related post: How to Take a Toddler Grocery Shopping in 100 Easy Steps


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  1. says

    omg I love the expression “tripping balls” lol. and yes, my 20month old does this especially when I’ve had to run short trips to multiple places. By the third time of me putting him back in the van, he doesn’t believe me when I say that this is the last time you have to get in your car seat :(

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        • Kari says

          It honestly was just inconceivable to me that they wouldn’t do what I said. But then again, I was (and am) an extremely stubborn person…. When they got older, I used to tell them all the time…. “don’t go there, I’ve been meaner, longer”….

          I did pick my battles…. but at 2, they just did it my way.

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    • Lisa says

      The thing is kids can read you like a book they know what you will put up with and how far they can push you. When I say I have 3 kids and this is not one of the problems I encounter it is not because I am being superior ~I just may have some tricks that you have not tried. On other issues I have gone to other moms begging for tips and ideas. That said it does not mean I think it is easy to get everyone out the door at my house. When I am tired the kids sense the chink in my armor and go for gold.

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      • Kari says

        I’m not judging anyone and I have had more than enough “mom fails” to feel superior to any mother, but I had 4 kids in 5 years and while getting everyone out the door was certainly an adventure sometimes, I truly never had these kinds of problems.

        I was the Mom….. they were the children….. and Mom ruled. Not always perfectly, but they all knew that they had to do what I said.

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    • Sara says

      Oh please. It’s not about being superior. I have two boys and never really had this problem getting them into the car. Sure we had the last minute “I can’t find my favorite stuffed animal” and “I need to go potty”, but when it was time to go somewhere, they were happy to go along. It doesn’t mean “a superior mom”. I don’t know what it means actually. But it sure doesn’t mean the poster is a “superior mom”. I’m sure she had challenges elsewhere.
      I wish my kids still wanted to go places with me. They’re 10 and 11 now and I can’t get them to go ANYWHERE with me.

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    • Stacey says

      i have two 2 year olds and a 3 year old and i have also never had this problem! All you have to do is make something fun out of the situation and they are all about it!! not saying this works for everyone but ive never seen it fail either…ive done with with my kids and my best friends kids and my cousins and neices and nephews and its always worked so if someone hasnt tried this i highly suggest it!! Just remember nothing is impossible and just try things a new way until you find what works best for your children!!

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