Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Power to Choose

You know, I think the more kids you have and the longer you are a parent the less that you can say works for you. Because, often things work for one kid but then a younger brother or sister hits that phase and it doesn't work for them. Or something worked for a while, but then it stopped working.

But, I have an easy phrase that has worked for me for years now with all 3 of my kids.

When we are at a playground or otherwise fun place my kids may not want to leave and it's close to time to go I will say, "Do you guys want to leave in 3 minutes or 4 minutes?" or you can change it up to "5 minutes or 6 minutes" and I've even been known to do "1 minute or 2 minutes?"

Obviously I don't really care what they answer, one minute is no difference to me, but somehow giving them the feeling of control allows for a smooth exit once it is time to leave.

They always, always choose the longer choice. Every single time!

But, then once the 4 minutes is over I say, "Okay guys it's been 4 minutes; time to go," and I start heading for the car.

If they protest I remind them that they chose 4 minutes and it has been 4 minutes. Who can argue with their own choice?

Really, the magic works, because they give in at that point and follow me to the car without tantrums, screaming, or crying, which I wish I could say about every other aspect of our lives!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday here.


  1. This is a great reminder! I do use this tactic with my kids as much as possible, I have a tweenager who would negotiate that 4 minutes all the way up to 4 minutes and 59 secs! At least she gets to practise her negotiation skills!

  2. love it...what a wonderful idea...

  3. Hmmm, what a great idea. I never really thought of that. I kind of just gave the advance countdown warning. But then again, I don't know how well it'll work with our 15 and 13 year old. They're too smart for that! lol
    Thanks for stopping by and linking up. Have a great day.

    Kristi, Live and Love...Out Loud

  4. Awesome. Giving choices always works. I've never tried it when we are leaving somewhere fun though...great idea!

  5. Great idea! I need to try this with my boys.


I'd love to hear what you think!