Updated on April 22, 2012
E.S. asks from Hackettstown, NJ
11 answers

My 2-year-old suddenly realized she is two. Hello independence. I embrace it whole-heartedly and am grinning and bearing it during the dawn of dawdling.

Example: My inlaws have encouraged her to climb into her own carseat. This may work for them but for me it is a lesson in patience and I say Yay me! My daughter will climb into the backseat, ask me to sit next to her and just say "hi." It's cute and all but when we need to get going I will coax her to "show me how you get in the carseat." This will go on for about five minutes in which I say "let's count to ten and get in the carseat." I will give her many chances to get in on her own and then ask if she needs help. Usually, she will get in at that point.

There are times in unsafe situations like parking lots where I refuse to let her dawdle and then she will cry when I put her in.

This is normal, right?

So how long do you let your toddler "dawdle" at their new task?

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So What Happened?

Some great and endearing insights here. Thank you.

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answers from Portland on

I let her go as long as I can stand it, but by the time I get her OUT the door to the car I am pretty much out of patience. I am hoping for a really great response for you so that I can get some great calming tips for mommy! Good luck to us both!

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answers from Detroit on

there are times when you have the time to fool around .. just going to the grocery store.. no real timeframe.. but then other times you are going to a dr appt at a specific time.. so you have to get in the car and go.

she is 2 and this is normal. but sometimes you have to be the mom and just put her in the seat and let her cry. you cant really reason with a child so young. so you just have to make them do things they dont want to do.

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answers from Chicago on

This might sound silly but this is what I've done with my 10-year old SD and I'm SURE it can apply to a 2-year old!

We name the parts of the task as we do them, sometimes making them into a rhyme or a song. I've been doing this since she was 6 (I didn't know her before then) and teaching her new skills. When she was younger I made up the list or the rhymes. Now that she's older she likes to make them up. This works GREAT for us for new tasks like putting sheets on the bed, etc. My SD was not good at remembering how to do things, or in what order they need to be done. By going over and over the steps she learned AND it kept her from dawdling so much.

I use stuff like this when teaching my preschool class.

So you could say "One, we open the door! Two hop into the car like a rabbit! Three, climb the seat like a monkey! Four, plop into your seat like a frog! Ribbit! Over comes the seatbelt like snake. Snap, the snake is in his house!"

As you do it over and over, you can either get your child to make sounds like the animals or fill in the blank as in "Climb the seat like a ___" and you child says "Monkey!"

If your child doesn't want to get in, you put on a sad face and say "oh, we can't play the seat game. I guess I'll just have to put you in myself."

All you're doing is pushing the task along and making it fun.

Now, obviously I don't do this game with the animals with my 10-year old, but I let her know that SHE can do the task herself, or I will do it for her, and she won't like it if I have to do it for her. This goes for things like combing hair, etc. Now that she's older I have to set a timer sometimes because she is the biggest dawdler! UGH! She knows a consequence is coming if I have to drag out the timer and she's not done when it goes off.

And I still make the one, two, three lists for her. It definitely helps her remember.

Good luck! And have fun with it. They are only young for so long...

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answers from College Station on

When you figure it out, let me know... my 14yo STILL dawdles! DRIVES me crazy! The other 2 can't get anywhere hast enough!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Yes, this is normal.

In my house, (or car for that matter) if I am in a hurry or not in the mood to let them dawdle for forever I quickly just buckle them in or do whatever task they are trying to attempt for them and inform them that sometimes it's 'Mommy's turn' to do said task too! This usually works and I feel it is a good idea to strike a balance *early on* between letting them assert their independence and try to do something all on their own and getting them used to when I need to just do that task quickly. It is better to start this early on so you can practice them using their patience too and to get on top of stopping any whining or temper tantrums they might want to throw and nipping all that in the bud before it becomes a habit! Just like with anything, practice and consistency is the key....so my best advice is to be flexible and make sure to take turns buckling up with your sweet lil girl!

~I LOVED this age...all of them really but at this age when they really start being their own little person is so precious and amazing.....enjoy it...it goes by SO dang fast! My *baby* and very last child is already 4 :(

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answers from New York on

I am no longer as patient as I used to be. I allow some time for kids to do it themselves. But not with car seats. My 6 year old can get in and buckle himself (but I help if we are in a hurry). My 3 year can climb up and down if we aren't in a hurry but I still buckle everything. If she is being too slow I do it.


answers from Rochester on

My almost two year old has been doing this exact same thing for the last month...except she also insists on buckling herself in (yes, she can...thank God she can't UNbuckle!) and it takes five minutes at least to get her in the car.

If I know I have to be somewhere...well, it's my standard with this child to leave extra time for her dawdling because I'd rather not face the fit. Sure, there are times when what must be done is done, but I'm all for making life a little easier. The nice thing is, they will eventually get bored with it and in the meantime you've let them develop.



answers from Boston on

I wholeheartedly agree with InMy30'sAlready that you will have to assert your authority to some extent or else you will have a tyrant on your hands once she is 5. I like the CheerfulM's suggestion. The sitting next to her and saying 'hi' would not work for me, maybe once or twice for fun, but on an everyday basis I just would not be able to tolerate it. They got to climb in but I always buckled, even until they were about 5, because it can seem like they are buckled but if not fully "clicked" an accident will propel them out of the seat. I just made it part of the routine - you climb in and if it wasn't fast enough I just leaned in and picked them up and positioned them correctly, then buckled. I also made sure to start about 15-30 minutes before we really had to leave so some dawdling could be done (choosing then putting on shoes, finding the hoodie or jacket they wanted, getting the stuffed animal or doll they wanted, etc.). But for me the carseat part was all business since it is safety related.


answers from New York on

Hi ES,
This is a late in the game response and I haven't seen your other answers yet, but I have to say I'm amused at the question. You young moms these days! In MY day... :) ... the kid did what he was told when he was told to do it. We didn't have time to waste while a kid realized his independence. We didn't let the kids have the power they do these days. If they were told to get in the car, they got in the car. If they didn't get in the car, they were IMMEDIATELY PUT IN THE CAR. Who's the boss here? If you let a 2-year-old run your life, you must have a LOT of free time! ;) They can take FOREVER to do anything!

from the Pocono Mts. of PA



answers from Seattle on

I wonder if your car is in a garage and you can just let her go out there and play for a few minutes while you are packing up to go?

I have 3 kids and raised 2 others and I did not and would not have had time for this particular dawdling. It was get her done....buckle up and drive.


answers from Redding on

haha, it's pretty normal.
your patience will guide you.

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