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How to stop this behavior

My four year old daughter is throwing a fit every time we have to leave. It could be the park, a friend's house, playing the computer, etc. We have told her she has to go and if she doesn't stop we won't do the activity again. We have put her in time out when we got home. We have taken things away from her.

Any ideas?


Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 7:07 PM on Jun. 28, 2013 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (12)
  • I suggest 2 warnings

    first a very basic we're leaving in 10 minute warning

    and then a it's almost time to go there's time for one more thing (IE down the slide, mommy help on monkey bars, etc)

    Answer by hibbingmom at 7:09 PM on Jun. 28, 2013

  • OH and then keeping as much dialog as possible going.... it works for us. if i keep "adult" conversation running my kiddos generally don't stop talking to freak out. usually my kids last thing at a playground is me helping them on the trapeeze bars and i'll be very chatty about when we get to the car should we turn on the radio or talk? and when we're home a bath or shower? and for dinner chicken or sandwiches? etc

    Answer by hibbingmom at 7:11 PM on Jun. 28, 2013

  • Stop saying you won't do the activity again. It is not reasonable and she knows that it probably is not true. You might remind her before going that all activities come to an end eventually. Also, give her five minute warning when you know it is going to be time to leave. Ignore any tantrum. Calmly put her in the car and leave. I know this is easier said than done, but she needs to know her behavior is not going to get a reaction from you. Stay calm. GL!!

    Answer by silverthreads at 7:12 PM on Jun. 28, 2013

  • what they said-
    and really, youre not going to stop doing any of these things
    dont make empty threats

    Answer by feralxat at 7:23 PM on Jun. 28, 2013

  • You cant punish after the fact. Time out at home after a tantrum at the park will do nothing.

    Answer by staciandababy at 8:11 PM on Jun. 28, 2013

  • One thing that worked well with my daughter at four, and that still works at five, is to let her know a few minutes before the activity is going to end. She does a whole lot better at transitioning if she's prepared. Dropping the end on her all of a sudden has never worked.

    Answer by Ballad at 8:25 PM on Jun. 28, 2013

  • Kids can suffer anxiety leaving the house can trigger that anxiety. For instance I love going places if I'm not up and out I feel board and tiered. Home =nap to me. But for my daughter and even my husband, Home=comfort. So leaving home can be stressful and instead of telling you mom I'm totally stressed out when we leave the house she throws a fit in hopes you won't have to leave. Communicate and find ways to make leaving calm and less chaotic.

    Answer by pinkparcel at 9:10 PM on Jun. 28, 2013

  • She seems a little old for that unless she just turned 4. I would keep her home. Shop at night when your DH/SO can watch her. Tell her when she can act like a big girl then she can go out with you. Until then she stays home. It worked quickly at 3 with my Son. It is a privilege to go out with Mommy/Daddy not a given.


    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 10:02 PM on Jun. 28, 2013

  • Punishment really needs to be immediate at that age.

    When my dd threw a tantrum over leaving a fast food playroom, I picked her up and carried her out of the restaurant. She never did that again.

    Answer by anng.atlanta at 10:59 PM on Jun. 28, 2013

  • Help to prep her by giving reminders of what is going to happen. This is important for helping manage transitions. But know that this, on its own, won't "fix" the issue of strong feelings around ending enjoyable activities.
    When your daughter is feeling more resilient & capable, she will demonstrate flexibility & adaptability. When she's overwhelmed & carrying a backlog of intense feelings from times when she was disappointed (and then frustrated on top of that because her feelings generated resistance, negativity & punishment), she won't cope well.
    If you realize this up front, you can manage your expectations better.
    Meaning, you can roll with what happens. You neither engage in a struggle to extinguish her feelings (with threats of not being able to do the fun thing again if she doesn't stop) nor try to avoid them. You acknowledge how it's really hard: how she doesn't want to stop & leave, and you're insisting. It IS hard!!

    Answer by girlwithC at 2:40 AM on Jun. 29, 2013

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