We Are Leaving in Five Minutes

Written by Christy Whitman November 8, 2011

Have you ever been at a store or at a park and a child does not want to leave so he or she starts crying and screaming? How do you prevent this from happening to you or your child?

Children understand things, and they also like to feel that they have power and a say in what happens in their lives, even at a very young age.

Whenever you are in a situation where your child is playing and you have to get going, give your child notice that you have to leave. If you are at a park and you are going to leave, tell the child, “Okay Alex, we are going to leave in ten minutes. Do you understand?” Then at five minutes tell him, “Okay Alex, five minutes and we are leaving. Play on the slide a couple more times.” Then when it is one minute, let him know that “We are leaving in one minute, so finish up with the swing. Last time.” Then tell him, “Okay Alex. We are leaving.”

When we do this with our son, he is fine and understands. Even when we are in the middle of a toy store and he is having fun playing with the trains, I give him the time warning and he is fine to leave. There have been times when I don’t do that and I say, “Okay Alex, time to go.” And that is when he cries and throws a fit.

We even do this when it is time to eat. We tell him, “Okay Alex, play for another five minutes, and then it is time to eat.” Then at a minute warning we tell him,  Okay Alex, one minute and you are going to eat. Please finish up what you are doing.”

It makes a huge difference, and your children feel empowered because they are not surprised by decisions you are making.

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