Park Stuff

I can’t be the only person who hates taking her child to the park because of the giant fit thrown when it is time to leave, can I? It’s gotten to the point where I actively avoid going to the park. Which sucks. We have fun at the park, Spencer gets some exercise and some sunshine, but leaving is so embarrassing. I have to threaten, cajole and beg. And that only works half the time.

Part of the issue is that he always seems to want to go at 4-4:30ish, which is theoretically fine, but then we can only stay about an hour because I need to get home to make dinner. The park is also packed with neighborhood kids then so the time to leave tantrums are extra excruciating.  I also don’t seem to know how to parent a toddler, so there’s that.

I’ve had the most success with countdowns. We talk about the time we are going to leave, I let him look at the numbers on the clock on my phone. Then I start doing, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 3 minutes left. I ask him if he wants to do one more thing. We slide or whatever. I say it is time to go and he throws a fit: crying, yelling, hitting, sometimes throwing sand. I normally let him calm down a bit and then I have to threaten to carry him home over my shoulder before we can leave. I hate every minute of it.

The other thing that is really starting to drive me insane are rented jump houses on the weekend. I’m half tempted to try a petition to get them banned. The generators are noisy, it is super confusing to little kids and in some situations I think they’re a safety hazard. That one pictured about had about 20 kids in it ranging in age from 2-tween all running to one side and trying to tip the thing over. Ugh. And the generator noise drives me insane. In releated news, keep of my lawn you crazy kids. ::shakes cane::

So, how do you deal with the park? Any suggestions?


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12 Responses to “Park Stuff”

  1. Desirae R says:

    I feel the same way about the park! I love taking the kids there, but honestly it is a rare thing because I just have a very hard time dealing with the two wonderful toddlers of mine who decided to 1) either run away in opposite directions, or 2) throw a huge fit when it is time to leave.

    So we save park time for when dad is around to help. I hope they grow out of it..


  2. Audrey says:

    Hmm. We tend to not make it to parks when there are more than a few other kids around, if any at all. I think that’s because I take him when most kids are in school. We also don’t go very often now that he has neighbors who run him ragged. I don’t often have to deal with him screaming off the playground unless we haven’t been there very long or he’s just found someone who will play with him when it’s time to go. I threaten the naughty chair and start my 3-2-1 countdown, which works almost every time. And when it doesn’t I toss him over my shoulder and call it a day. ;)


  3. We are just entering the fit-throwing stage, and I am going to try to get Noah on video because it’s hilarious. A 13-month-old squealing and stomping his feet. I’m sure we won’t think it’s funny in another month or two, but right now we just can’t help but laugh.

    Do you think you could work out some type of park schedule so that it’s not random trips? Maybe have Spencer help you put together a calendar so he would have something to look forward to and you could maybe prep for dinner in advance? You could also try a reward system for good behavior when you leave the park.


  4. Des says:

    Haaaa, I was just complaining this weekend about how I couldn’t take Ezra to parks anymore because of the giant psycho tantrum he throws when it’s time to go. The only thing that’s ever worked for me is bribing him with a cakepop from the Starbucks near the park, and that’s not really an effective long-term solution. So yeah, I’ve got no suggestions, but I feel your pain. Toddlers be crazy.


  5. Emily Y. says:

    I had a kid in my class one year who refused to leave the playground after recess. Try dealing with the tantrums every day with 17 other kids waiting in line/causing other problems! What worked 75% of the time was giving him two choices that don’t sound like the fun is over… Like “Would you like to skip home or ride your bike home?” or “Would you like to pretend we’re dinosaurs on the way home, or that we’re superheroes?” Also, giving choices about what you’ll do when you get home might motivate him to get home quickly. The other 25% of the time, I wanted a frying pan to beat over my head… and it wasn’t even my own kid.


  6. Suzanne says:

    Caroline is my fit-thrower because she LOVES the swings, sort of a ridiculous amount. IF she sees the swings, we MUST swing on them. Once she’s on the swings, she REFUSES to get out and do anything else. I am NOT allowed to walk away and stop pushing her for more than 20 seconds. And when it’s time to leave she screams and arches her back and fights me. I have literally pushed her on the swings for an ENTIRE HOUR and she still threw a fit.

    Basically, I can sympathize, but I have no advice.


  7. theravenquoth says:

    one thing that worked well when I nannied was to say, when you hear this sound 5 minutes from now that means we will be leaving the park. then play the alarm sound and set the alarm. it sounds totally dorky and ridiculous, but it totally worked.


  8. Trianna says:

    Usually my son didn’t throw tantrums because I would explain that if we go to the park, we have to leave at a certain time. I also don’t do well with tantrums. I ignored him if he tried that tantrum thing with me and then just told him I’m leaving and started (very very slowly) walking away. He usually started freaking out that I was going to leave him, ran after me, and apologized.
    Now that he’s older, I tell him that if he doesn’t want to leave when it’s time, then we won’t come back to the park for a whole week. I still use the watch and he comes to check it to see if it’s time to go yet. It’s become almost a game to see how much stuff he can do before the clock runs out. If he’s really good, then we get to stay an extra 5 minutes. So I guess it’s kind of a rewards system that works. Hope it helped. =)
    Stopping by from SITS.


  9. Meagan says:

    Oh the park is tricky. On one hand the energy it burns is awesome. On the other, is it really worth it when it’s that hard to get away?

    I usually bribe him with food after the countdown. Don’t you want a fruit snack? They’re in the car and we have to leave to get it.

    Also – we have to hurry. Daddy’s going to be home! helps sometimes too. Although he’s usually not actually home yet and I feel like a jerk for getting his hopes up. But it works!


  10. April says:

    I’m visiting from SITS! Gosh, it’s been so long since I’ve had to deal with toddlers and the whole park situation…my girls are 20 and 15.


  11. MKP says:

    Would he wear a digital watch? What if, before you leave, you agree on how long you can stay, and then you make a note of the time so it’s His Job to tell you when it’s time to leave. I love the alarm sound (or a bell) idea too, especially from a pavlovian perspective.


    Amy Reply:

    I never thought of getting him a watch and having his own alarm go off. That is a super interesting idea.


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