1-2-3 Car Magic
September 6, 2011 6:29 PM   Subscribe

1-2-3 Magic filter: How do you count in the car?

1-2-3 Magic has been working fantastically with our two year old. So well, that I find myself counting by default in situations where that's just digging myself into a pit.

Example: *thump*. "Please don't kick the back of the seat." *thump* "Don't kick the back of the seat. That's one." etc.

And then I get to three. And then what? I can't give a timeout to a kid strapped to car seat. There's no toy or clanky silverware or whatever to put in timeout.

He's too young for a delayed repercussion.

What to do in these situations? Is just ignore it the only option until he's old enough to punish later?
posted by colin_l to Human Relations (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You ever tried a time out in a car seat? Worked for my nieces.

It didn't matter where it was. They knew they were being punished.

You do it like a regular time out, but this time you don't have to fight 'em to get them to the time out place.

I'm not familiar with the clanky silverware portion, but I don't se why the rest wouldn't be fine.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:35 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

First, don't overuse the countdown. Next, this may be what cjorgensen meant, but you can actually do the timeout in place. For my kids, it was more about my tone of voice and state of seriousness. It was about saying it's occurring Right Now, and then expressing serious Silence for 3 minutes. Another tactic was to have a verry special car toy/book that was a mad fave, and only allowed to be played with in the car, and the countdown involved taking that super-special item away. Finally, as a last resort, there's the ever-popular Pull Over, but obviously that only works in certain locations and for major infractions. If you use it, turn around and make very meaningful eye contact and say I can't drive if you kick my seat. The startle factor works really well!
posted by thinkpiece at 6:45 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

For my three year old we still do the time out. "Fold your arms, now you're in time out." Folded arms are a part of his normal time out routine, so he knows the drill. The same thing goes for the supermarket or wherever we happen to be. He can be sitting in his stroller and still be in time out, or walking through the park.

It gives me a quiet minute and it gives me a chance to redirect things. "Okay, you're out of time out. Let's play the flag game now!"
posted by TooFewShoes at 6:46 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

That was easy! y'all rock! Thanks!
posted by colin_l at 7:01 PM on September 6, 2011

Hey, that feels bad. Please stop.
Let's sing. (replace bad activity w/ good activity/attention.)

again. Kicking my seat is distracting while I drive. Please stop.
Let's look for Dump trucks.

again. I'm going to leave you alone for a few minutes, and listen to the news, while you settle down. Ignore for 2 minutes.
posted by theora55 at 7:10 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

I did 'in-car timeouts' the 2 or 3 times I ever did them by pulling the car off to the side of the road and having myself stand outside of the (still idling) car with the kid buckled in.

Once I did a time-out by taking the kid out of the car seat and putting him in the hatchback area of the Forester. That didn't work well, but it had more to do with the boy not wearing any pants (because of an earlier liquipoop accident that we were unprepared for in terms of diapers and/or clean pants). Thus the angry-time-outed two-year-old with no pants let me know just how 'pissed off' he was. What a mess. And only earlier in the day had we bought the car (hence the time-out for kicking the seat-back.)
posted by u2604ab at 7:46 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have a cousin who would put the music in time out.
posted by bq at 8:29 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

My two year old: *flips the car visor*
Me: Please don't do that sweetie.
*flips it again*
"I said no, don't do that"
*flips it again*
"That's it. I said NO!. You are in time out now, for 2 minutes. You just sit in that car seat and don't go anywhere"
*sits in car seat, cries miserably for two minutes, apologizes and behaves himself.*

I still can't believe I got away with that.
posted by SLC Mom at 10:27 PM on September 6, 2011 [8 favorites]

Actually, we had 1=2=3 down to where I could just hold up 1 finger, then 2, then had a behaving child much of the time.
posted by SLC Mom at 10:28 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm in the camp where 1-2-3 Magic/Nurtured Child worked great for one child and not the other. Especially in the car.

Our solution, which worked at around age 3 and still works well is to start car trips with a ziploc bag of quarters (a small amount) with the message that the child can have the money and spend it on something nice when we get where we're going. Then infractions cost a quarter. Arguing about infractions costs another quarter.

We also added in merit systems where they got quarters for very good behavior (stretch goals, really) and small denominations for doing chores.
posted by plinth at 1:51 AM on September 7, 2011

A friend of mine flips her mirror so her son can't see her for time out when they are in the car. I turn NPR up so I can't hear my kids. Both work pretty well.
posted by purenitrous at 2:38 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

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