Why is the 10-minute warning so important?

by Linda Michie, Executive Director and Founder at Wishing Well Adoption & Family Services


Imagine this: You are at the best concert of your life. The music is perfect. They are playing your favorite songs. Your best friends bought you the tickets for your birthday and it’s pretty much the best time you ever had. About 45 minutes into the concert two bouncers show up at your side and escort you out. You didn’t do anything wrong! But out in the street, you are. Your friends still inside. They probably don’t even know you left yet.

Or you’re at your favorite restaurant and the food is perfect, but halfway through your meal the manager walks up to your table and asks you to leave.

Sometimes leaving the playground can feel just like that to the unprepared child. They may have just made a new friend, mastered a new slide, or just be in the zone having the time of their life, and you say “gotta go now”. NOW!?! WHAT? NOW?!? NO! JUST FIVE MORE MINUTES! ……PLEEEEEASE!

Kids need time to transition, and they need to know what to expect.

Try telling the kids just how long they will be able to play. “We only have 30 minutes to play today and I’ll let you know when we have 5 minutes left”.

You can show them your watch and gradually teach them how to estimate time.

Some children need more notice than others, but most children do better with a warning. They can go on their favorite swing one more time, or tell their friends one last secret. But they know to wrap it up emotionally, and will then be better prepared to leave. If you have to have them practice saying ”OK Mom” with a smile, there’s nothing wrong with that. Again you’re letting them know what’s expected of them, one of the best staples of effective parenting.

On the other hand, if you’ve taught your children that if they beg you for 5 more minutes and you give it to them, their understanding will be that this behavior works and they will expend a great deal of energy making sure it continues to work. So once you’ve said it’s time to go, go, every time. This will help your children learn that begging is useless and you say what you mean and mean what you say.

If this is a big problem in other areas, consider a parenting coach from Wishing Well to help get you back to joyful parenting. (757) 739-2118

Linda Michie

Linda Michie

Executive Director and Founder at Wishing Well Adoption & Family Services
Linda Michie holds a Master's degree in Urban Studies, and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice from Old Dominion University.
Linda has worked in the child welfare field since 1999 and is a Licensed Child Placing Agent.
Wishing Well assists in domestic adoptions in the state of Virginia, and provides parenting coaching, and supervised visitation in Virginia Beach, VA.
Linda Michie

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