When a parent took to the very popular forum Reddit to discuss ways to leave the park without your tiny terrorist holding you to ransom and screaming the neighbourhood down, other mums and dads piped up with their helpful strategies.
How to go home
One parent noted that replacing the abstract notion – to children – of time with something more tangible worked best.
“When taking young children to the playground instead of saying they have 5 minutes left tell them they can go on 5 more ‘ rides’, ” the poster said. “This gives them something visual to work with and helps stop tantrums. Also helps with numbers when counting down to the last ride.”
It makes a lot of sense, and other commenters weighed in to concur, offer alternatives or disagree.
“When I tell my kid she can go on 5 more rides instead of 5 more minutes, she goes as slow as humanly possible,” one parent posted. “That is why I do time limits, not ride limits.”
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Others had various other strategies to wrangle their kids from slide to your ride …
1. The tech solution
One parent enlisted their iPhone to help this delicate transition from slide to home.
“I like to do the timer on my phone and they get to press the button. Can’t argue with the timer on the phone. Taking control out of your own hands helps.”
2. The Deal or No Deal
Treating your child as a tiny hustler can pay dividends, the same parent advised.
“I found getting a verbal deal actually helps. ‘Leave in 5 minutes, deal? ‘Deal.’ Then: ‘Remember you said ‘deal’?’ and he usually packs it in at that point. Every kid is different, so find what works for your precious car salesman/hostage negotiator!
3. The interval approach
A gently does it approach at regular intervals worked best for another parent.
“I usually say ‘2 minute warning’ and then ‘1 minute warning make it good!’. Mostly I mean, ‘when I say it’s time, it’s time.’ ”
4. The ‘this or that?’
One commenter advised offering a couple of convenient alternatives when it’s almost time to go home.
“Give the kids an illusion of choice,” the parent suggested. “If you intend to leave in 5 minutes, ask the kids ‘do you want to leave now, or in 5 minutes/after 5 more rides?’ Letting the kids think they got to be a part of the process fosters trust and responsibility.”
5. The see ya later, alligator
In response to the ‘this or that’ one parent suggested a side of tough love (and a future abandonment complex?)
“The choices I give are, do you wanna come home or stay here by yourself? So far, he wants to come home every time.”
6. The no-repeats
Another parent said a kind of all or nothing approach worked best for their family.
“If you throw a fit when it’s time to go we will not come back. If you leave when it’s time we will come back again next week. This seemed to work well for my kids leaving fun places when they were smaller.”
So if we add in the initial ‘5 more swings’ approach that’s SEVEN clear parent-endorsed strategies to try if you can’t get your kid to leave the playground.
Please don’t try them all on the same day, though, because your wee person might sense your desperation and deduce that they’re the boss. #LOL