7 Tips for Getting Your Toddler in their Car Seat without a Struggle

If you want to know how to get your toddler in the car seat without tears, this is for you!

You know exactly what I’m talking about.  There's this magical time when your sweet little infant starts to become mobile and all of a sudden, they have no interest in being stationary.  EVER!

There's this magical time when your sweet little infant starts to become mobile and all of a sudden, they have no interest in being stationary.  EVER!
- Stephanie Aberlich

They will do the back arch thing, scream, kick, and anything to keep themselves from being strapped into that tortuous car seat. 

And it really is tortuous from their perspective. Think about it…. All of a sudden, for the first time in their life, they have serious control over their own movements and interactions and speech.

How amazing is that!?  But then someone (mainly you) wants to strap them into something where they can’t move, and against their will! 

I'd respond with a hell no as well!  Not cool.

But carseats are a necessity right?  They are a safety precaution and they are necessary.  So I’m going to give you 7 tips to help get your toddler in their car seat without the struggle.

1. Check Basic Needs First

I use C.H.A.T. to make sure I've checked everything before getting a child into a car seat, wrap, or before bed. Check this out for the full blog and more information on how to use C.H.A.T.

Watch the video for a really great tip on breastfeeding toddlers and their nursing needs after eating solids.

2. Give Enough Time

Don't rush your child.  Make sure to give yourself ample time to get into the car seat without having the stress of working against the clock.  Plan ahead.

3. Play Some Music

Getting into a car with calming or energetic music on can be so much more enjoyable than one that's silent.  Try putting on their favorite song as you get in the car.

4. Have a Mirror

Mirrors are not only great to make sure you can check on your rear facing child, but they are also a lot of fun! Encourage funny faces and other sensory mirror learning so they have more fun being in their car seat.

5. Give Them Ownership

Giving our children ownership over the things that they need to do is extremely important.   Let your toddler try to get in their seat by themselves or buckle their straps.  Even if you have to end up helping, it's showing them how much they can do on their own.

6. Have Activities

Activities are important for any outing.  They help keep a child's attention if they need something to focus on to prevent them from being either understimulated or overstimulated.  I don't recommend screens for this (those are for code red emergencies, not every day use).  Books, or soft toys work well. 

7. Make it Special

For the times when it's really difficult, or you've been in and out of the car all day, make it special in some way.  Find a special ritual to help make getting in the car again less stressful.  Stay away from food treats or bribing, and instead focus on ways to connect with a fun experience, game or song.

Awareness Over Perfection

Maybe you've forced your little one into the car seat before and been tormented by their crying.  I know I've made that mistake before.  Give yourself a hug and try differently.  Now that you have some new techniques, I hope you'll be able to make your car seat gettin-in time much less stressful for everyone involved.

Tell Your Story

Have you tried any of these tips?  How did they work for you?  What other tricks do you use to get your toddler in their car seat without a struggle?  Share your story & wisdom with the In Harmony Village in the comments!

With Harmony,


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