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SPD, anxiety over new car-seat

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Ds (5yo) is about to outgrow his beloved Marathon carseat and I'm kind of stressed about his upcoming car-seat change because he is completely freaked out about it. He has sensory over-responsiveness which contribute to anxiety and stress about changes like this (we've been trying to get him in new shoes for about 5 months now).

As it is, He wants the exact same seat. Obviously that isn't happening. I've been looking for extended 5pt harnessing that are very Britax Marathon-like and come with a dark blue cover, but it seems like I can't find one and will probably get him a Britax Frontier-85.

Ds just had a complete anxiety attack over a picture I showed him of the Frontier. At this point, I suspect I'll just order the new seat and we'll have a very difficult adjustment period.

I don't think talking it through is going to help much at this point, but I'm hoping for some advice on that. Does anyone have any words of wisdom on easing the transition to an unwanted seat or similar change? (Heck, new shoes would be a start, but we're stuck there too and that is more negotiable as it isn't a safety issue.)

Thank you!
post #2 of 17
Can not help with the car seat, but I have a shoe suggestion. When you finally get him into a new shoe, buy a couple of identical shoes in bigger sizes. Then when he needs to go up a size, have him spend an evening "cleaning up" his shoes, and then put them away, in the morning, he has new shoes that he "cleaned up." We had to do this with my sister. The only problem was when her feet got too big and we could no longer find mary janes.
post #3 of 17
Maybe offer some sort of new toy or gadget that he can play with in the car while he is in his new seat...something that stays in the car, is very exciting, and can distract him a bit from his discomfort. So that it isn't like a "bribe" (although with a kid with SPD myself I can say I'm not above bribes ) maybe you could discuss him picking it out and that it can be used to help ease his transition. good luck. My son will not leave the house without his snow suit and it is 60 degrees...
post #4 of 17
is it possible to find a local store that has some of the seats in stock so he can check them out and give his input?
post #5 of 17
Can you go "visit" the carseat at the store several times (daily even?) before you buy his new one? We did that for our son, although he wasn't nearly as resistant to change as your son, but we went to Babies R Us and let him see the seat, sit in the seat, and we even bought him a new sippy cup since his new seat had a cup holder. He was excited about it eventually.
post #6 of 17
Have you ever tried writing social stories for him? I do this all the time with my ds and he loves them. They really do help him adjust to changes too!
post #7 of 17
^^^ I agree! Social stories are really helpful for resistance to change. Use pics of him in his old seat, talk about how much he enjoyed that seat then show pics of him now, how he's bigger now (what he may get a kick out of is to tell him his skeleton and muscles have changed/ grown) and that he needs to pick a new seat for his new body...

Best wishes T! Sounds tough
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the suggestions!

Let's see... as for the shoes, YES! I need to do that. I did that back when he was on his only-black-converse-high-top kick (years 2 - 4, roughly) but then he got this pair of shoes he's in now I only bought 1, cause I didn't know how it was going to go. Finally (after refusing them for about 6 months) he decided to wear them because they go on/off easier (velcro). I meant to buy more right away, but delayed, then they stopped making them! I just ordered a new kind that I just found that are very similar in hopes that he'll go for them as I'm sure his are getting snug. If he wears them, I'm stocking up! Great idea with the cleaning thing too.

I'm not sure how the toy thing would work... He'd just get mad if we had a toy that we weren't letting him use unless he got in the seat, and I think he'd hold it against the seat! I think it needs to be somewhere he wants to go, but maybe that's a good idea - like a special outing maybe to buy a special gift to celebrate the new seat... after he's had some time to get used to the seat being in the car (we'll expect a few days where he won't get into it). Rewards/bribes are not part of our general parenting, but I'd be up for it in this case too! I just don't really know how to do it in a way that it would work. Others have tried to bribe him and not had any luck. (As for the snowsuit, our kids should trade some mental energy or something - mine won't wear ANYTHING more than a single layer of fabric - it makes for very chilly winters!)

I tried walking through the car-seat aisle at Target with him and asking if he thought any of the seats looked comfortable. His response: "If you make me sit in any of those I'm going to be very mad." I don't think we'd be able to get him to try a seat, although I'd *love* to so we could find the one he likes best, since it's going to happen anyway. I should talk about that with him a bit more, but I think he'd almost rather just have the change happen to him than take part in it. I could be wrong there though, and maybe should try to guide him through it better... it just never seems to work very well! At least he tends to move into acceptance pretty well once something does happen... it's the process that is so trying.

I *love* the idea of social stories. That is a great suggestion, and I will try that. We did that when we moved, and with a couple other things, with good results. I'll definitely make an effort there.

Being as change resistant as he is, the conversation about him growing is a delicate one... it's getting to be a bit easier than it was for some time, but he is NOT embracing that concept. In fact, he adamantly still goes by 4 years old, even though he's been 5 since November.

Thanks so much for all the ideas!

(and hi E! )
post #9 of 17
Originally Posted by flitters View Post
Let's see... as for the shoes, YES! I need to do that. I did that back when he was on his only-black-converse-high-top kick (years 2 - 4, roughly) but then he got this pair of shoes he's in now I only bought 1, cause I didn't know how it was going to go. Finally (after refusing them for about 6 months) he decided to wear them because they go on/off easier (velcro). I meant to buy more right away, but delayed, then they stopped making them! I just ordered a new kind that I just found that are very similar in hopes that he'll go for them as I'm sure his are getting snug. If he wears them, I'm stocking up! Great idea with the cleaning thing too.
He sounds very much like my son We've had clothes/shoes issues for years He's been in a phase for a couple years where he'll only wear plain white shirts. He wears a white undershirt and a long sleeve or short sleeve white shirt every day (long sleeve now, getting ready to move into short sleeve again). Maybe 2-3 times a year we can get a colored shirt on him, but it's rare and usually lasts 30 seconds to an hour before it's torn off. He'll only wear a few certain athletic pants (and when I found some he would wear I bought a bunch of them.... I'm sure his school thinks he wears the same outfit every day... LOL!). Socks and shoes have been a huge struggle the past few months especially. He was wearing socks fine (a certain kind, turned inside out) and then one day it was like a switch went off in his head and he decided he didn't like those anymore. He wanted "long socks, all the way up my leg". We finally found some, but he wasn't satisfied with those because "they slip down my leg!". Well.... gain some weight and that might not happen So then he was sockless, which wouldn't be a big deal in the summer. But at the same time he would only wear this certain pair of rain boots. The combination of the rain boots with no socks all day was a KILLER. You could smell that boy coming from a mile away. We had to do something about it, fast, before the other kids started teasing at school. We had a pair of these crocs in the closet, that we'd bought months ago and he'd refused. I explained to him why he couldn't keep wearing the boots with no socks (in science terms, because he calls himself "science kid Owen") and that was it.... he switched to the crocs (with no socks, but that's fine because it doesn't stink!). He's been wearing those pretty good for the last few weeks. I might try and get him to switch to these in the summer, basically the same shoe without the fuzzy lining.

All that to say.... I feel your pain and we're right there with you. DS's criteria for shoes (that I can understand, anyway) is no laces, no zippers, no velcro, no snaps and must "feel good" and not be "too tight" or "too loose".... whatever that means.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Oh goodness, yes, the shoes criteria! Our list is similar, although velcro is apparently a must (one, not two straps) and another issue is "too heavy." I have two brand new pairs of shoes that have been here since early December and have been on his feet a total of perhaps 2 minutes (all together between both pairs). I just ordered another (preschoolians design your own let me make a pair very similar to the ones he wears now) and if he won't wear those then I'll give up and wait for him to decide his old shoes are too uncomfortable for being small (which I know is much longer than I should wait in terms of foot health, but I don't know what else to do!).

And very cute story about the stinky feet!

Ds is adamantly no socks (because they make the shoes too tight). We had a ridiculous winter with him going out in the snow wearing just his normal clothes (single layer shirt, single layer pants, no socks, his shoes). He allowed a hat and neck gator which was great. We had to stop every 10 minutes or so when he'd scream about snow on his ankles, but HE WENT OUT and didn't go in right away from the snow mishaps!

Ds hasn't been too particular about color since he was about 2 when he went through is tie-dye only phase. Very ridiculous, very cute.

Meanwhile with the carseat: we had a better conversation about it last night in that there was no meltdown (mostly due to saying how it would be in the house first so he could get used to it, and then reassurance that it wasn't happening immediately) but also with a glimmer of interest when I told him that when we finally did put it in the car we'd do a special first drive to get a new video game at the video game store. I'm not above that if it will ease this transition, though we're still in for a rough one!

(Not to mention that choosing the actual carseat is so complicated in itself!)
post #11 of 17
Continuing along with the hijack to shoe/sock issues.... I alternate between being a "nurturing mom of kid with sensory issues," and the "OMG your feet STINK! You just need to wear socks, dang it!" Steph, I'm with you on that. I feel like I just met my cyber-sister.

It just feels awful to "force" our children to do something that feels BAD to them - regardless of the reason. Yes, sometimes we need to change car seats or get shoes that fit or wear socks to gym class. But it's just crummy to be the mom who has to enforce that.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Updating (two months later) with our little breakthrough:

Yesterday was the first successful ride in the car seat.

What finally made the difference?

The night before the successful ride I showed ds crash test videos on youtube (not scary ones to frighten him, more like technical ones to demonstrate safety features). He still doesn't like the seat and says he will "never get used to it" but he got in without a big fuss and he was able to relax for the ride. That is a huge deal for us. I can tell the seat itself is comfortable - it's the change that was so rough, but as part of the process we found something that really seemed to make a huge difference and we're very relieved about that.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
(still haven't managed to get him in new shoes though... it'll be interesting this week as we seem to have lost one - yes, one - of his normal shoes... not sure if it'll turn up or if that will be enough incentive for him to wear the new ones.)
post #14 of 17
I don't have any great advice that hasn't already been given.... but I have loads of empathy! My daughter has been wearing the same outfit for about 3 months now. it's not exactly aging gracefully as she is a ROUGH little tomboy! and I have tried everything to coerce, beg, bribe, and reason her into trying new clothing. she just freaks out on me!

it's a new thing too b/c she used to wear a whole closet full of clothing and have her hair in braids etc... now? the same ponytail every single day, the same EXACT clothes, one of 2 pairs of "exceptable" undies, and one pair of flip flops. that is it. winter, spring and summer.

I'm still trying to figure out the right method. for now I decided me pushing the issue was only causing copious amounts of anxety for us both (even when I waas being easy going and up beat about it) so I just decided she's going to have to handle this one a little more indepenantly. I usually trying to fix things for her before they excelate... but I can't always do that. so when her skirts tears to shreds she will have to find one that she can wear. and it will be hard, and there will be tears, and I will be there to cheer her on and let her cry n my shoulder, but I can't change it. she has to work through it in her timing.

sometimes I have good luck with say "this is the way it is. I'm sorry you're upset. Iw ill do whatever I can to help you if you can think of anything that would help, but this is the way it is." and then she cries, outs, sometimes tantrums.... and then we move on (eventually). sometimes it takes a few days... sometimes it's quicker than I think it will be. but eventually we always get to the next step.
(btw I don't care about the clothing! I'm just worried about the fact that she will refuse to leave her room if she can't wear the clothes. I've given up on worrying about how they look! lol)
post #15 of 17
I sooo hear you on the shoe issue!
LoveBug is 9, and this is still a struggle. He has several pairs of shoes he can wear, but it is the getting NEW shoes that is a complete struggle. (It`s not as much the change, but the sensation/feeling of the shoes on the foot that is the problem here. Same with pants and jackets/coats.) I spent 5 months trying to get him to accept a pair of indoor soccershoes he needed for soccerpractice. (They are indoors during winter.) I think he tried on every freaking pair of shoes in every sportsstore in town. Not ONE of them was acceptable, according to him. Finally we found a pair he could live with. 2 weeks before indoorseason was over.

Amazingly enough, getting him outdoor soccershoes was a lot easier. We only tried 4-5 stores before we found them. It helped A LOT that the shoes he got was the exact same shoes some of his favorite soccerplayes use.

Good luck!! And yay on getting him in the carseat!
post #16 of 17
Sometimes, even the smallest step in the "right" direction feels so rewarding!!! I'm happy for L and I'm happy for you!
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 

HennyPenny - that sounds rough. We have a pretty limited wardrobe for ds (in fact, it has become even more restricted in that sweatpants and sweatshirts are now only permitted if worn inside out - otherwise they are "too fluffy") but it is enough to get by (not just one or two outfits... more like 5). For what it's worth, I only wore single color sweatsuits and the same hairstyle for about 4 or 5 years of my childhood (ended when I was about 12). In fact, as an adult, I still wear pretty much the same thing every day (jeans and a solid color t shirt) and still the same hairstyle.

LoveBugMama - I do hope ds gets passed the shoe thing before he is nine! I'm *sure* this pair will be too small, uncomfortable and worn out by then. Currently, he is wearing his slipper socks everywhere (and not going for long walks outside like normal) because of the missing shoe. Maybe he'll get interested in an activity like you described where he is motivated to wear shoes for a particular reason... I suspect we're not close to that yet though - he won't even go to public pools cause he only likes to swim naked.

And thanks E.
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