Saying Goodbye

How do you leave a friend's house (or other fun place) without tears?

Time to leave the park, or a friend's house, or anything fun can sometimes be tricky. Here are a few suggestions other than the five minute warning (which is the great standard and works perfectly for some children)...

1. Say Goodbye - pick them up say, "It's time to say goodbye to the sand." Then tell them to say, "Goodbye sand" and then you say, "Goodbye sand" and quickly start looking around the park saying goodbye to literally, everything! Goodbye slide, fence, pink sand bucket, swings, Lindsay, Jose, the leaves...the longer the list the better - because saying goodbye becomes the game. And then when they are already in your arms, its easier to get them into their carseat or stroller.

2. Practice Makes Perfect - when you give them the five minute warning, also give them an expectation ie. "We are going to leave in five minutes, when I say, 'Its time to leave' I want you to say, 'Okay, mom!' Will you practice saying it one time for me right now." For some reason if they have said "OK" already - it is so much easier. And they actually understand the expectation. And its great, when your child says, "OK" so cheerfully - you almost forget you just asked them to!

3. Whisper - You can apply this to both the above or try it on its own. It always seems better to ask in a whisper - for some reason it resonated more clearly - the contrast against the loud friend's house or park. They can actually hear it - when the problem can be they are so busy they don't hear.

4. Back Door - Ok, so sometimes you need to plan a get away, a back door approach, if you will. Bring something special in the car or stroller they don't know about - a toy they haven't played with for awhile. A treat, something that means something of great import. Then, instead of saying goodbye or saying that its time to go, tell them that its time to start something new - time to go play with the new Dora toy or whatever. So, this is a little bit of linguistics and a lot of planning ahead. But, if its really hard it might be worth it.

5. Paci/Blankey - I say use these things to your advantage when they are young. Its a bit of the same as above - but basically don't let them have their pacifier or blanket until its time to go. And use the words, "Its time to go check on Pacifier" - and you say the goodbyes.

What else works?

Painting: Considering a Swim by Lindsay Dawson

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