Tantrums - Cleveland,OH

Updated on March 01, 2010
K.W. asks from Cleveland, OH
9 answers

Hi moms,
Anyone have a strategies for preventing huge tantrums when leaving a friend's house/playdate??
My four year old whines, yells, etc. every time!

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answers from Dayton on

I would say let him do "one more" of something then say it's time to go. If he throws a fit, I would send him to his room until dinner. Tell him the new rules before you leave home for the playdate when nobody's emotions are running high; then come home and do it. It should take once or twice before it's solved for good. Good luck - these things take "stick-to-it-ivness" that is hard to come by after dealing with kids all day!

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answers from Portland on

Hello K.,

Transition time for kids is really hard. I suggeset giving warnings starting at 10 minutes, then 5 and then at 2 minutes. At 2 minutes I tell the kids it's time for one more____. Allowing them one more ___ helps them in the transition process. I also like having the other child help with the leaving too. If you're at their house, ask the the child's friend to find your child's coat or shoes. This helps both kids prepare for bye time.

I also love praising for good behavior. When your child leaves nicely, thank them and tell them how much you appreciate the help. I also like rewarding good behavior with things, like another play date. You can let your child know before the playdate, you will schedule another playdate for (what ever day), as long as they leave nicely, and describe what nicely is in your mind. "If you leave Sara's house today without whining and right when I say it's time to go, I'll talk to Sara's mom on the phone about her coming to our house tomorrow. If you whine and fight with me, we'll have to wait a few days before Sara can come over.".

I hope this helps. Playdates are great and can be tough too!

R. Magby

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

Both of my boys did much better with transitional activities. Avoid the "5 more minutes" announcement because a 4 year old can't tell time, so saying 5 more minutes or 15 more minutes or whatever is not concrete and all that basically means to them is "we will be leaving eventually, but go on and keep playing for now". We ALL are guilty of giving that 5 minute warning. What kids need instead is a concrete thing that is measurable. Build one more tower out of those blocks, then we'll knock it down, and help clean up so we can go. I'll push you 5 more times on the swing and then I'll help you jump off so we can go-- help me count the pushes. Do one more puzzle, then we'll put it away so we can go.... Look at what they're playing with and figure out a "one more" thing he can do and use that as the warning that it's almost time to go. If they are doing an open ended imaginative play (like zooming around with cars or playing with action figures) you'll need to be more creative-- like find 3 red cars and then we'll help clean up so we can go. ..... When they hear that you are leaving soon and start to complain, give a choice--would you like to leave RIGHT NOW or would you like to build one more tower? That way, the decision is HIS to build one more before he has to go.....The important part here is the follow through--- whining/complaining/yelling doesn't matter. You said one more tower and we're leaving, so no more "just one more" after the one more you already gave. If you follow through EVERY TIME, after a few times they will get it that no matter how much they protest that you WILL follow through with leaving when you said you were going to........Then, it helps to have a back up thing to look forward to when you leave, like a special snack he can't eat until he gets to the car, or something special waiting to do or see at home. ALSO, he is getting old enough that you can start talking to him about appropriate behavior. Although most kids do it and mommies understand, it is "rude" to pitch a fit when it's time to go. My daughter slept over a good friend's house once when she was in kindergarten or 1st grade and I remember she was grumbling when it was time to go and trying to stall... so my friend told her if she was going to give me a hard time when it's time to go that she won't be invited to spend the night there again because that's rude to me to give me a hard time. Loved that! So ask the mommy at the house of the play date to help. Ask if she'll say something along those same lines, like if he wants to come over again to play another day then it's not OK for him to act disrespectful when mom says it's time to go.

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answers from Indianapolis on

Start before you get there.
"Molly, we're going to Jane's house today. We will stay for an hour and then come home. I'll tell you when you have ten minutes left."
Follow through a few times.
"Molly, we have 10 minutes left, pick one more toy you'd like to play with."
"Molly, we have 5 minutes left, please help Jane pick up her toys."
"Molly, it's time to go now. Please thank Jane for letting you visit and play with her toys. We'll be back again soon."

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

I agree with everything said here.

We do both ... the "you have x number of minutes" and transitional activities. My daughter is 2.5 and she is VERY into "what time is it". She is always looking at the clock (we have several traditional clocks) and asking what time it is or telling us "the big hand is on the 3". She can recognize her numbers, so we utilize various moments to encourage her clock curiosity. If we are at a play date, and it is getting time to leave I will say "you have 5 more minutes to play. That means you can do "x" one more time" or I will tell her "you have 5 more minutes to play, when the big hand is on the 4 (or whatever number it will be on) we have to get ready to leave"

Think about YOUR child and what works for him at home then try to incorporate that outside the home keeping in mind little kids DO need that transition time. My daughter loves to feel like she got "just a little bit more play time" .... whether it is in the shower, or playing before going to bed... whatever.

Now, if she DOESN'T follow instructions, there are consequences. I try to keep in mind something that I can use to take away. For example, my daughter LOVES to play princess and wear her crown. I often will take that away if she throws a temper tantrum. I am sure to let her know the expectations before hand and have her repeat them back to me. Then there are no surprises.

Good luck!



answers from Terre Haute on

I have twins (just turned 5) that when we would do anything, they did not have tantrums, but by the time I got one rounded up to leave and tried to find the next one then the other would have taken off and I was constantly trying to keep them nearby to get coats on and get out of a place timely. SO one of the times, I had them in the car after this ordeal I told them that I did NOT appreciate how they behaved and that if they ever wanted to do anything fun like that again then when I tell them it is time to go they are expected to stay with me and not keep running off. Then the next time I took them to something, I reminded them "don't forget if we want to do fun things like this again, when I say it is time to go we don't keep running off." So far, it has worked like a charm. My husband was impressed at the last event expecting it to be really difficult to keep track of them, and it went so smoothly They get lots and lots of praise when we leave without incident.



answers from Cleveland on

Before the play date starts, tell her that when you say it is time to go, it is time to go. Let your child know the end of the play date is approaching with a five minute and then a two minute warning. Kids crave a little bit of control, so perhaps, you could let your child choose what you do after you leave. (ie "When we leave would you like to go home to play kitchen or read a book?" or "what song do you want to listen to when we leave?").
When a tantrum occurs with one of my children, I get down to their eye level and repeat their feelings and desires to them. (ie. "You must be really upset and angry because you want to stay and play. Mommy knows you want to play. Mommy knows. But our time here is up and we have to go home to have more fun. Think about what songs you want to sing on the way home.") Most of the time, they just want to feel heard.
Good Luck! This phase will pass, I promise.



answers from Indianapolis on

RAISING RESPECTFUL CHILDREN is a book you might want to get. On top of that, there needs to be consequences for the bad behavior. Are there? If not, there's no need for the behavior to change.

Talk about boundaries and the fact that the tantrums are UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR. Talk about behavior that IS acceptable - an alternative. Make SURE to praise the good behavior.

When poor behavior happens, talk about what could be done INSTEAD.



answers from Washington DC on

Give them a warning , tell them they have 20 mins left before you need to leave , then tell them every 5 mins until the 20 mins is up.

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