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difficulty leaving places with 2 1/2 year old

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  • difficulty leaving places with 2 1/2 year old

    My daughter never wants to leave ANYWHERE- home, the library, the Y, people's houses. She has a really hard time with that transition- even when she wants to go where we are going. I try to give her fair warning (5 minutes, 3, 1). I try to be relaxed and say "do you need another minute? Let me know when you're ready". She is NEVER ready. I try making it fun by giving her the choice of running, hopping like a bunny, playing follow the leader, etc. She usually doesn't care. Sometimes it helps if I have something for her to look forward to in the car like a surprise, or candy (which I don't like to give her on a regular basis). But is it reasonable to have to come up with a surprise every time we need to leave and get in the car? When I try to just pick her up and go she is big and strong and kick and screams and makes a big scene. I started giving the consequence of "if you don't come out to the car when I say it is time, then you will not get to go..." to wherever the next special place is that we are going. I really believe it would be best if I could find some way to work with her, not coerce her, but I also need to go where we need to go. On occasions when I leave it up to her because I don't care where we go, we end up not going anywhere and then she is disappointed about not going. Does anyone have any advice about this? Thanks!

  • #2
    transitions are tough! my oldest had a really hard time w/this. something we did w/him was make a picture chart of everything that we had to do that day. we'd talk about it in the morning and that seemed to help him understand the passage of time (which is the issue at this age), and understand that if we didn't do X, then we'd miss Y, etc. it didn't solve all the difficulties, but certainly helped. we also did a lot of having him make choices about what we got to do and when. then we could say "this is what you decided, remember?"


    • #3
      This is super common for the age, and really on and off all childhood. Children simply cannot see the benefit of timelessness!

      Although, I would never leave a child at a location or even imply it, it is important to you to leave in a timely manner and there is really nothing encouraging her. Often with my boy I will say "well, I am ready to go now , I am going to start walking in this direction, come soon so we can be together, please"
      This is enough for him because it has not become a power struggle, where nobody wins.

      A 2 1/2 might respond better to a timer set on your cell phone that plays a song in ten minutes..When it plays, we have to go. And when it does start going...... Never leaving her in danger of course but getting the motion going and NOT making it a debate or a competition of wills.

      Possibly have a day where you have no time constrains and really be prepared to stay somewhere ALL day if necessary. Give a little power back to her possibly so she feels less threatened about her fun being cut off.
      Look into some NVC (non-violent communication) literature. There is a wonderful idea in Respectful Parents, Respectfull Kids about seeing the yes in a child's no and using that for understanding.

      I totally have been where you are, and will be there again in a year!
      Last edited by naomifrederickmd; 12-08-2008, 08:53 PM.


      • #4
        I am so happy to have found this forum! Thank you both for your answers! I was thinking about devoting some time to giving her the power to go at her pace, because I think you're right she might feel better and more in control. I like the other ideas for timing and having a picture chart about our day too. I bet that will help. Thanks!