As the sun hits your back you peek down at your watch and realize it’s time that your spouse is starting to head home from their job.
You and your spouse tend to cook meals together on Thursdays and that is what today is. Another Thursday where you spend the day at the playground down the street and meet your love at home just in time to build a homemade pizza together with your kids.
You holler at your kids “in about five minutes we need to get going it’s pizza night”
The kids running happily around the playground pause for a brief moment, look down and choose to run to the slide farthest from the exit. In this moment you have one) realized that you need to tone your voice 2) your toddlers have decided that it is not time to leave the park in 5 minutes.
You breathe deeply as you lightly stomp your feet towards them to ask if they heard your five minute forewarning to leave for pizza night.
“It’s time to go you tell your kids and simple as that their legs give out and they let out a wine that gradually submisses into a louder screeching fit. One thing every parent wants to know tried and time again is how they can leave the park without their toddlers throwing a fit.
Truth is Fits Happen
Toddlers are just that; there will be times when they don’t ever want to leave the park and it can be not only emotionally hard for them but to abrupt or sudden to leave. Even with that five minute warning to a small child it seems like there is way too much get done in that time that they didn’t get around to.
This makes a little person very very upset. So what are a few ways that you can leave the park without experiencing the horrid fit that most parents dread? Check out our tips of how to get out of there and transition into the next fun task at hand smoothly.
Start talking About Your Next Plans from The moment You Leave The House
When you start prioritizing the final destination or the series of events right from the get – go kids have an easy time creating a broad image in their minds about what is about to go down. This gives them plenty of time to ask questions they need to and get comfortable about the journey ahead. Better yet, ask your children if they have any questions about what is expected in the near future. You would be surprised at how much your kid is curious about the situation at hand; you can chat with your kids as you put on their shoes and drive to the park about it.
When you get to the park frequently remind them that you will be leaving at said time and I mean frequently; kids have a short memory span for daily plans so it’s best to remind them every 15-20 minutes about how long they have left to play. Depending on their age they will store the exact times for different lengths of time.
How does Age Change What type of Fit your Kid will Throw
Not all kids are the same age and have the same mentality and patience. You may have a 2 year old and a 6 year at play to get going from the park; knowledge is power and knowing what your up against is a great way to get through it successfully. Depending on the age of your child he or she will react differently to transitions.
You will need to be in charge and communicate effectively based on the needs of your child. Here are a few common tips to help your little one in ages 1-5 years old.
One year olds transition in a way that really all they need is to be fed well and ready for the ride. It’ll be great to feed them about 20 minutes really good before leaving the park alongside a diaper check. You can do this as you tend to your other kids and prepare them for the ride home too.
Two years old start to get really attached to places they like to be such as the park so be prepared for a little resistance when your asking them to load up. Luckily, the terrifying threes are where it’ll get more interesting so you have a bit of room to breath.
These little kiddos around this age will mostly need to have you distract them all the way to the car; be sure to use your voice effectively and use simple words like “we’re getting to the car” want a snack in the car if appropriate or something fun inside of the car for them to do. Tell them boldly where your heading next. If a fit arises give them a few more minutes to take it all in and speak to them clearly of the agreement to leave and why.
Three year olds, in my experience have the hardest time transitioning out of the park or fun places. It seems they will throw themselves to the ground full blown fit if they want to. They need the most communication when leaving — well ahead of time. Give them a lot of reasoning of why we have to leave soon in detail and make it about what fun lies ahead.
Maybe ask them to help you with something once your home or have a creative project for them to look forward to. That way they won’t feel as though there is nothing fun to happen after the park. Give about 30 minutes pre warning to kids this age about leaving the park. A good idea is to give them the keys and ask them if they want to help unlock the car when you get to it. Kids this age do best if they are fed and hydrated well before it’s time to go.
Four year olds, by this age kids will need a lot of the same concept that happens at 3 years. They should be quite receptive to ‘time to go’ words. But, don’t mistake their developed understanding for lack of necessary engagement of where and why. Still give them about 30 minutes pre warning because four year olds have many things to do that they didn’t get around to before it was time to go.
It works well to give them a specific number of things that they can do before leaving the park. Like three more slides or monkey bars. Then stay right with them and count them down as they move forward. Stick to your reigns and be specific. They need it.
Five year olds, this age is where they gain a bit more independence and they will want to use it to their advantage. They will want to do a Lot more exploring when it’s time to go than they did in the playtime. So stick to your reasoning and it helps to give kids this age at the beginning of playtime a specific time that you must leave like 6:00pm.
They can pretty well understand the concept of 4:00pm to 6:00pm and that the sun sets. Talk about these things with them and stay in the positive zone on how things happen. Tell them that they can always come back another day and you understand how fun it is. Tell them about how you felt too when you were small. If a fit breaks out remind them that they’re around other friends and that it’s okay to feel upset but not throw fits.
Have them tell you they are sorry for having poor behavior once you get through the fits; this holds them accountable for their behavior. Remind them that we don’t act like that period. Remind them there are other ways to talk about their feelings and it’s perfectly okay to cry but not to throw a fit. “There is a difference between a fit and crying”. They should be able to understand this pretty well. Always have them take a seat or allow them to wail on the ground if it breaks out worse than expected.
No matter the age of your children remember to have patience. One thing that has always remember that if your child throws a fit no matter how embarrassing or overwhelming it is; it is still their behavior and not your own.
A calm mind can get any parent through a terrible transition pattern. If you have a specific routine set aside for leaving fun places you will break the pattern of fits at an earlier age than if you were scattered. Kids really need routine and a lot of patience from their parents. Wait until it’s a good time to talk about it with them and not in the heat of the tantrum. Talk about these times with them when your at home too, not only when it’s literally time to leave the places. Get ahead of the game and always one step ahead of your child. Keep in mind that they do take a lot longer to process transition than you do and five minutes till go is never enough time for a little one.