What can I do when my two year old doesn't want to leave.... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 01-17-2013, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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...but we MUST? Staying a little longer (or a lot longer!) is not always an option. Sometimes it works great to warn him a minute or so before we must go, and sometimes it doesn't. I am not above carrying him out to the car kicking and screaming if I must, but oh how I hate to do that!

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#2 of 11 Old 01-17-2013, 06:32 PM
 
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I always like giving the choice "would you like to leave now or in 2 minutes?"  And just say it one time.  

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#3 of 11 Old 01-17-2013, 08:04 PM
 
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Sometimes it can help to say something like, "Go down the slide two more times and then we'll go." Sometimes it can help to say it in a way that puts the focus on where you're going rather than where you're going, as in "Time to go home now" instead of "Time to leave now." Sometimes it can help to talk about when you'll be able to come back. "Didn't we have fun today? I bet we'll have fun next week when we come back." Sometimes it can help to say goodbye to things where you're leaving. "Goodbye swing. Goodbye slide."

But 2-year-olds are 2-year-olds. I've carried tantruming 2-year-olds out of places. I empathize, "I wish we could stay longer too." I give them love and am patient. But I treat that just like any other tantrum.
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#4 of 11 Old 01-17-2013, 09:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

Sometimes it can help to say something like, "Go down the slide two more times and then we'll go." Sometimes it can help to say it in a way that puts the focus on where you're going rather than where you're going, as in "Time to go home now" instead of "Time to leave now." Sometimes it can help to talk about when you'll be able to come back. "Didn't we have fun today? I bet we'll have fun next week when we come back." Sometimes it can help to say goodbye to things where you're leaving. "Goodbye swing. Goodbye slide."

But 2-year-olds are 2-year-olds. I've carried tantruming 2-year-olds out of places. I empathize, "I wish we could stay longer too." I give them love and am patient. But I treat that just like any other tantrum.

 

Absolutely. My DS is now almost 15, but I still remember having to sometimes carry him over my shoulder when he didn't want to leave the playground when he was about 2. Other parents will look at you and mostly think "Poor parent, I've been there".

 

But, often a  "five minute warning" + then take the child gently  by the hand, and  "good bye" as Mamazee above describes can take care of it.

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#5 of 11 Old 01-18-2013, 05:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for giving me a few ideas, ladies! I appreciate it very much.

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#6 of 11 Old 01-18-2013, 07:03 AM
 
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I found when my DD was that age that a lot of times bringing along a snack to eat in the car worked wonders.  I think some of the meltdowns were because she had been so busy playing that she didn't notice that she was hungry, so bringing out a snack helped her transition more easily to the car because she was focused on OOO SNACK instead of whatever play she had been involved in.  Focusing on what we were going to do after we left never worked--it was too far removed for her at that age.  She needed the immediate refocus of a snack or special fun toy or something.  And then, of course, sometimes there was just no way around the tantrum.  Sometimes they just have to let it out.
 

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#7 of 11 Old 01-19-2013, 09:14 AM
 
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We used to sometimes say goodbye to the things we were leaving. I don't remember starting this so I think ds picked it up from someone else. But he still (at 5 yo) will say "bye trolley" when we get off the trolley. Or "bye science museum".

Snack is almost always helpful.

Leaving in a fun way "race to the car" or "let's hop like bunnies to the stroller" stuff like that. Making leaving into a game.

I love to go places where our leaving time will be closing time (this obviously doesn't work with the playground but does with museums etc). Because it is out o my hands. "I know kid I'd like to stay longer but the museum/library/bounce place is closing. The people who work here are ready to go home to their families."

Also, sometimes you have to carry a scream kid away. It happens to everyone.
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#8 of 11 Old 01-19-2013, 09:31 AM
 
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Yeah, sometimes you do just have to pick them up kicking & screaming. greensad.gif

Some things I've noticed help in various situations:

-Give DS a 5-minute warning, but ask him to let me know when he's ready to leave. It gives him a chance to come to a natural stopping point in his play, instead of me forcing him to go in the middle of something fun.

-Sing a goodbye song.

-Offer something enticing for the car ride (a special snack, toy, story, song) not so much as a bribe but as something to make the car seem more inviting, less boring.

-Explain our plan to DS ahead of time: "We will have lunch, then go to Jane's house for 2 hours, and then we'll get in the car and go to the grocery store for an hour, and then we will come home before it gets dark." At first the time concept (minutes/hours) was meaningless to DS but at almost 4yo he is starting to understand it better... so you could start now, but use lots of predictable touch points (meals, sun up/down, etc.) to make the schedule make sense to him until he understands time. This is probably the most effective thing on my list for us.

-Don't make a big deal out of goodbyes. This is a trial & error thing, because some kids do better with elaborate goodbye rituals, but my DS gets so upset that even saying the words "good bye" is likely to trigger a meltdown. So often we just keep the goodbye short & sweet, "Time to get in the car," take him by the hand and start walking.

-Leave when you say you will. This is my biggest struggle! I used to be so good at it but lately friends & I will get caught up in conversation as I'm trying to get DS to leave... and so the leaving process ends up taking 1/2 an hour instead of 2 minutes. It's just confusing to DS and prolongs an already-difficult transition.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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#9 of 11 Old 01-19-2013, 09:32 AM
 
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I've found it's also helpful when we are with friends at the park or beach to all leave at the same time.  My kids have the hardest time leaving their friends so when they see their friends leaving too that really helps.

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#10 of 11 Old 01-21-2013, 06:56 PM
 
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For us, we would tell DD that we had to go soon and ask her what else she wanted to do before we left. We did this kind of in place of "5 more minutes" she she had no concept of how long 5 minutes was.

For instance, if we were at the park we would say "we have to leave very soon. What last thing would you like to do before we leave? Have another turn on the swings or the slide?"

She would say the slide. And then we would ask her how many more times she wanted to slide. She would always say three (her favourite number at the time). So then we would let her go donw the slide three more times and count with her/ for her. After the third slide she was very willing to go.

At about age three this stopped working so well. She would start asking for 10 more turns instead of three once she realized asking for a higher number meant more time to play. Also, even letting her go 3 or 5 more times she would then fight having to leave. That is when we started with the explaining that we had to go do something else, but that we would come back again soon and have fun.


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#11 of 11 Old 01-24-2013, 08:21 AM
 
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Transitions are hard for most kids, and they almost never want to "leave" if it's something fun...so it's something you can pretty much anticipate is going to happen.

 

Things that seem to work for my kiddo (who definitely gets "stuck" at the playground):

 

1.  We're leaving in 5 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute (so it's not a surprise)

2.  Having something desirable on the other end if possible.  If we're leaving the park, it's to go home and have snack (yay!) or play with cars (yay!), not because it's bedtime (yikes!).

3.  Empathy and a reminder that we can come back and do it another time "next time".

4.  Schedule previews:  first we're going to the store, then the park, then having snack.

5.  Transition objects (sometimes it helps to have a favorite toy come a long when leaving, or roleplay around that--It's time for Mr. Monkey to go get in the car now, can you go put him in there?) 

6.  Timing (consider the amount of time you have, and how long it takes your little one to engage/disengage from activities--if you know you need to leave at a certain time, start the leaving process earlier than you really need to so it's less stressful--or doesn't matter if it takes longer than expected)

 

And it's unavoidable, there will be those times when nothing works and you pretty much have to walk away carrying a screaming child.  We've all been there. 

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