Dear Debbie

I need tips for getting my child to the car without a meltdown. Every day is a wrestling match to get the kid buckled in the seat….even if he’s going somewhere fun! Help!
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Dear Debbie,

I need tips for getting my child to the car without a meltdown. Every day is a wrestling match to get the kid buckled in the seat….even if he’s going somewhere fun!
Help!

Put yourself in your child’s shoes. There is nothing appealing about stopping a game or leaving the TV to get into the boring car. He might be going somewhere enjoyable, but a toddler can’t see that far in the future. He only sees that right now he’d rather play legos than not! So make getting to the car more fun. Try:

“I’ll race you to the car!”

“Here’s a wipe to clean the windows before we go.”

“Can you push the garage door opener for me?”

“What snack do you want for the ride? Come pick one.”

“How many doggies do you think we’ll see on the way?”

“Do you think you can sing your ABC’s by the time I buckle you in?”

Environmental management helps, too. Put him at the table with one activity for the few minutes while you finish getting ready. He’ll be done when it’s time to go! And leave the TV off if you plan to leave soon. Going anywhere can’t compete with Clifford!

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How about some ideas for making a graceful exit at the end of a playdate. Our current tradition of a full-blown tantrum in our friend’s foyer leaves a bit to be desired. Help!

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"Dear Debbie" is a column dedicated to answering your questions about how to better handle the everyday struggles of life with children. She'll tackle anything-from tantrums and potty training to dealing with playground politics and post partum depression. Send your questions to: mag@todaysmama.com

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