We've all been there. You tell your child it's time to go, or time to stop one activity and start another, and you get the whining. The begging. The screaming. The tantruming. The great human drama of a kid who can't handle transitions. Instead of starting that process when you really do need to move on, back it up and be a "human snooze alarm" to give your child plenty of warning and help him or her make a transition more peacefully.
Time Required: Ten minutes, give or take
- Give a ten-minute warning. Tell your child "You have ten more minutes." Please note that, unless your child has a wristwatch or is a stickler for accuracy in this area, you can give this warning well before you actually only do have ten more minutes. Consider your child ignoring you at this point as being the first bang on the snooze alarm.
- Give a five-minute warning. About halfway between the ten-minute warning and when you actually have to move on, tell your child "You have five more minutes." Put up five fingers to illustrate. Get at least an acknowledgment that your child has gotten the message. Then let the snooze alarm get banged again.
- Give warnings by the minute. Just as a snooze alarm gets louder the more you use it, make your warnings more frequent at this point. Give a four-minute warning, three-minute, two-minute, one-minute. Again, these don't have to correspond to actual factual time. But they should let your child know that it's time to get organized for a change.
- Count down the last 60 seconds. At this point, your child should be at least reluctantly moving toward change. Start with every ten seconds, then for the last 30 count down second by second.
- Give an extra ten-count. If your child is still dawdling, tell him or her he has a count of 10 to get with it. Then count up from 1 to 10. And move on.
- This technique may not work with all children, but it should work with those who have difficulty with motor planning and change. Calibrate the amount of time used to your particular child's needs.
- A stopwatch or a timer can sometimes also be effective countdown tools.
What You Need