The One Thing You Shouldn’t Say To Toddlers To Get Them To Leave The Park
Your toddler is tearing around the park like nobody’s business – but you’ve been there 45 minutes and there’s now dinner to cook and a pile of laundry higher than the Tower of Pisa to sort. It’s time to head home.
After various techniques to try and encourage your toddler out of the park, you give up and go with the old failsafe: “OK, I’m leaving without you.” You turn on your heels and head to the gate. “Bye!”
At which point, your child is usually spurred into action – although let’s face it, sometimes they’ll still ignore you anyway.
If this sounds familiar it’s because all of us have been there, slowly losing shreds of our sanity as we try to bargain with someone who is – let’s face it – immune to bargaining.
But telling your toddler you’re leaving them isn’t great news, according to a toddler expert.
“You just told them that if they’re not obedient, you might leave them one day,” said Deena Margolin, co-founder of Big Little Feelings and a marriage and family therapist, in a video on Instagram.
“That’s your kid’s worst nightmare: losing you.”
So, what’s the solution to leaving somewhere in a healthier way?
According to Margolin, it’s all about okaying the child’s feelings (for instance, saying: “You’re having so much fun. It’s hard to leave”) and then giving them a choice.
So you might say: “It’s time to go home now. Do you want to walk or be carried? You choose!”
To help alleviate any tantrums, you might want to also mention something fun you’ll do together once you’re home. Or on the way home.
And if you find your toddler still isn’t budging after that technique, you can add: “Leaving is hard, I’m going to help you now.” At which point you can pick them up and carry them out of the park.
They might kick, they might scream, and that’s normal. “You’re there to support them through the upset feelings while also holding a boundary,” says Margolin.
And if you simply haven’t got time for all of that, or your toddler is proving very resistant to your sweet talking, give these tried and tested tips from HuffPost UK readers a whirl.