Throughout this series I will be breaking down some strategies to use in the moment, before and after, so next time won't result in a meltdown.
You know the scenario: you have given that 5 minute warning, now your child refuses to leave the playground. There's a yell, fight and maybe even throwing themself on the ground in full-on-refusal mode.
So now what? Your kid is in meltdown mods, they aren't listening, you are starting to feel hot and triggered you need to leave ASAP to get to an appointment. You have a few choices here even though it doesn't feel like it. One choice is not so cute, one is a little better..
Let's focus on that moment, what can you do?!
1. Deep breath to cool down yourself first. Maybe even close your eyes for a split second to escape..
2. Using a neutral tone tell your child "I understand it's hard to leave such a fun place"
3. *think this through before you say it because you want it to be the truth* "We can come back tomorrow after breakfast!" (or some other time if possible. Skip if unable to return at a later date)
4. Provide a choice: "It is time to leave now, so we have two choices. You can walk to the car or I can carry you"
**They likely will not answer so count to 5 to yourself
5. "Pick a choice by the time I count to 5 otherwise I will carry you"
6. "Okay, I'm going to pick you up and carry you to the car now"
7. Follow through. Do it!
8. "Thank you! Do you need help to calm down?"
**If they say yes, help them with deep breaths, if they say no or don't answer, let them be respecting their space**
9. "Thank you for sitting in the car! I'm so sorry we had to leave the playground. I know it's so hard leaving the fun places. I can't wait to come back to the playground tomorrow! Let's go find more fun!"
10. Deep breaths Mama, you can do this.
How does this feel to you?