14 Month Old Won't Sit still....EVER!!

Updated on September 28, 2010
P.B. asks from Clovis, CA
13 answers

M son is 14 months old. He refuses to sit in the cart at the store, or a highchair at home or at a restaurant. He has always hated his car seat but is getting a little better now that it faces forward but I don't know how to get him to sit down. All he wants to do is run around. I know if I out him in and let him cry he might eventually learn to eat sitting down and it is appropriate to sit in the cart at the store but that isn't fair to other patrons. I have tried toys and snacks to keep him occupied but he is more interested in what is going on around him.Any ideas? I know you ladies are brilliant!!

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answers from Salinas on

Lately I've been putting my son in the actual cart of the shopping basket (not the seat) to get him to stay. He always stands up in the seat no matter how elaborate the straps are. It's the same nightmare with high chairs eating out.

For shopping and mall time I will wear in the Ergo baby carrier. He likes to be carried like that and doesn't mind it until we stop and the scenery suddenly is staying the same but for the most part he is fine with being in the Ergo and actually will fall asleep in it too. (actually that's how I get him down for naps a lot!)

I know it's hard but I think the phase will pass!!

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answers from Los Angeles on

This may sound like a strange idea but I thought I'd put it out there. One thing they sometimes do for ADHD kids who have a hard time sitting still in school is get them one of those exercise donut type things - a round plastic seat that is filled with air - like an exercise ball but flat - you might be able to find them at Relax the Back - adults use them too. Anyway, that way when your son is sitting down, he can be moving and fidgeting and it's kind of fun for them but they're still sitting. Might be worth a shot. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Luis Obispo on

Dear P.,

Well, first you are going to have to get him to sit in his car seat at home on the living room floor. Give him a cookie or special candy or something like that - never mind that it is bribing. Bribery is o.k. if they do what you tell them to do when you 'bribe'. This is the way that we got my gr grandson to like church. He would cry on the way into the church, an Usher would hurry out with a cookie, then another cookie when he sat on my lap in church, then off to his class and he was happy without a cookie. So you see what I want you to do with the treat and him sitting in his car seat on the living room floor. As he sits there read him a book, sing to him, talk lovingly to him, or show a good short kids video that he loves, you sit there with him too. Then, pretend that you two are in the car and go for a short ride, tell him that you are at the preschool or restaurant or whatever and then get him out of the car seat and into the dining room and sit down, pretending you are at the restuarant and so on and so forth. I don't think I know how to spell restuarant.

Also, you are going to have to be more firm in your day to day discipling of him. You need to teach him to listen to your voice and obey, so therefore you do not talk unless he is attending to you. Just talk low and no yelling, and no saying NO just go through the movements of teaching him what to do when you talk to him. You may have to give up and stop once in a while, but eventually it will work , - always remember that his attention span is shorter than you can now imagine. It will get longer and you can lengthen it by doing this sort of thing. Being firm is the only way - not spanking or yelling, but be firm. Say, " I am your mother and you are going to do what I say "- don't say that too much because if you rile him up he will really get tough about changing. Lure him with love and firmness. Tell him that he cannot go to the resturarant unless he learns to sit in his 'restuarant chair' at home and eat like people do. Oh, la, la, la and on and on , you get the drift. Good luck and be strong, C. N.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Hi P.,

I think this is very normal for your son's age. When my daughter was that age, she was also a busy body. She couldn't sit still for nothing. Even while I was pregnant with her she would be moving so much I couln't even sleep at times. She also did not like to sit in her car seat until I was able to turn it around to face forward. She wouldn't even sit still when we ate dinner out somewhere. I never gave her food unless she sat down but that didn't seem to work me. She just recently started sitting down on her own but I still have a hard time getting her to sit sometimes. I think you just have to let him know when he has to sit but also let him get his energy out.



answers from Los Angeles on

One of my main ideas considering that my child is just about the same, is to involve him whenever possible. Make it his choice, and have him help you. Ask him if he is ready to eat. If he is then tell him, ok but to eat we have to sit in the high chair like a big boy so mommy can feed you. Then reward him him with big kisses and smiles and "oh you make mama so proud when you sit still!" Do this rewarding stuff every few minutes. As soon as you see him getting anzy. When it comes time to leave and go in the car, do you carry him down or does he walk? Do you let him know what is going on? I yell my son that it's time to go bye-bye, and he helps me open the front dooor, then he goes down the stairs "by himself" (not really but you get the idea). Then he walks to the car with me and I let him stop and view things here and there. But if he lingers too long, I gently take him by the hand, and urge him to come with me by reminding him that we need to go byebye. I let him climb into the car and help me put his straps on and he has toys that he ONLY gets in the car. This has helped me tremendously. I have found that the more he feels like he is in control the more willing he is to participate appropriately. And the entire time I do nothing but praise, and that seems to work well. Instead of reprimanding him when he stops too long to look at something, I praise him when he returns to the task at hand. That makes him proud of himself and makes him want to do it more.
Then at the grocery store, he never wants to sit still long enough for me to finish so I involve him by letting him put stuff in the cart. He is a little too small to have read the list and things like that but he likes to sit crooked and put stuff over the back of his seat and drop it in the cart. He will play with it a bit and examine it, which is ok. But when he starts to try and open it, or chew on it, I gently remind him that he needs to help mommy and put it in the back of the cart. It may take a while for him to understand, and may lengthen the time it takes you to shop, but the peace and quiet may be worth it. See how that works and good luck.



answers from Stockton on

boy do i know where your coming from, my daughter will be 2 in a week and i have the same issue, she is exactly how my husband was as a child, all you can really do is to give him things that will use up his energy, i just bought a small bounce house that is small enought to fit in my dining area, we also bought her a little tricycle, to use up her energy, my daughter never sits still and was early at her developement, crawling at 6months and standing the same day, walking at 8 months, so i can guess your son was early at things as well, as for the shopping cart, i solved that problem by putting her in the shopping cart rather then the seat, that stopped her from standing in the seat. hope this helps and good luck



answers from San Francisco on

I had the same problem with my daughter. I found this thing that you can attach to almost any chair or high chair that keeps them from getting up. It was cloth with velcro. I don't remember what it was called though. It was great for restaurants. Other than that it'll take a lot of training and discipline. He sounds like a strong willed child. Maybe food should only be given when he sits. You can try rewards for when he's good in the store.



answers from Honolulu on

Try reading this book "Raising Your Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. I don't know your son, so I don't know what else is going on with him, but the book helped me and my family alot!



answers from San Francisco on

We have a son who is turning 2 next week who is also VERY busy. Like you, shopping is a nightmare! He wiggles out of the grocery cart belt but I can't let him sit in the big basket, he tries to clinb out. He's OK in the mall. He can't wiggle free from the seat belt in the stroller but, boy, does he get loud! So, I have to limit all shopping excursions. When I do have to take him w/me, I bring along plenty of snacks & drinks & toys. He likes to help load the groceries at the counter, so I'll give him the smaller items to put on the counter which will keep him occupied for a bit. Restaurants aren't much fun, either. We only have a couple we go to otherwise we don't eat out. In another year or so, we can go back to our regular spots which will make our older son happy!. Since your son is just over 1 & walking is still new to him, he's very excited to go places & investigate which is all very typical of kids this age. Maybe let him out of the stroller towards the end of a mall excursion & he can walk to the car. Once he matures a bit more, & is used to the walking, things might slow down a bit. So, for now, avoid taking him to those places unless you have to & remember to ignore all those rude people who are giving you the stink eye cuz your kid is upset. Like they never had kids before! Puh-lease! Or my favorite: he's tired & needs to go home for a nap.....no he's just mad cuz he's not getting his way! I'm in this boat right now & it has gotten easier in the last few months. Good luck!



answers from Visalia on

i had the same trouble with my son and it turned out that he was BiPOlar and ADHD. I am not saying your child might be the ssame, but for us my child would not EVER get worn down. He would get riled up more and more. So I had to start documentaion on him from the time he was 3 till he was 5 to get a DR to help me. Now he is on medicxation adn is doing incredible in school. He is even making friends where before the kids were scared of him. So try everything you can, but always remeber to consult with the Dr's too.



answers from Providence on

How long did this phase last? My son is 14 months now and I am having the same problem. Not only with his car seat, highchair and stroller but while we are trying to attend playgroup or story-time. He won't sit on my lap like the other kids and I'm concerned that he is developing ADHD. His Dr. says he's normal but I'm thinking otherwise. Since your post was from 2007, I figured you might be able to assist in letting me know hoe long this will go on for. Thanks for your reply in advance! B.



answers from Los Angeles on

I know it may sound kind of funny, but I took some advice from “The Dog Whisperer”. He was consulting a couple with a SUPER active dog. He recommends taking the dog for a walk before taking him some where they needed him to be calm. SOOOO, I play with my son- A LOT- before we go somewhere he has to sit. By using up most of his energy before I need him to stay still, he doesn’t fight it so much. I usually play chasing games through the house, or go out back to play “catch”, but we play with the dog, LIKE the dogs. I throw the ball, and my son and the 2 dogs chase it, who ever catches it, brings it back to me. Hope it helps~ J.



answers from Las Vegas on


My son, now 2, is and always was the same way. However, he isn't as bad any more. His name is Caleb Ethan. My son has always had so much energy. Once he started walking at 11 months he took off. He wouldn't sit for anything. He would run from me in public. He would stand in shopping carts. He used to try to stand up in his high chair. I think a lot of it is being a boy, but also the age. He just started walking probably and wants to explore. My son can finally sit still for short periods of time. As far as the shopping cart goes - well I had to start putting him in the stroller for a little while (because he would sit in that) and only go to the store for the few things I needed. My son still hates shopping carts to this day. Now that he's got a sister it's a little better because I say "Hey look sister is sitting in he cart." I tried toys and snacks and lollipops and everything and once that thing was boring 2 minutes later he would be standing up again. I would suggest not taking him with you unless you have to. I would also really try to get him to sit in his high chair to eat. You don't want him to run around the house eating. I would suggest trying to put his favorite food on his tray and exlain that he needs to sit in the chair to eat it. Get him used to it. It is hard for kids this age to sit for a long time, so don't exect too much. Good luck and it will get better as he gets older.


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