My son LOVES the park. In fact, he loves the park so much that when the time comes for us to leave, he throws a HUGE fit. He screams NOOOOO! And kicks and flails if you try and carry him, much of the time I resort to basically dragging him home (if we are in walking distance of the house) if we've gone away to play getting him to stay in his car-seat is basically a nightmare. So, I hesitate taking him to the park. I know it will be a struggle to get him to leave, so I always sort of dread that part of the experience.
But today the sun was shining, it was warm and even I wanted to go to the park. I decided to try a new approach to this, whole experience. My son is three and in my heart of hearts I feel like he knows what I'm talking about and telling him to do, it's just getting him to want to comply that is the issue. So today, before we left I crouched down, with my hand on the door handle, our shoes on, keys in my hand and said
"Scotty, we are about to go to the park and you are so excited aren't you!?" He gave me an antsy smile "Before we leave, I need you to tell me that when it's time to come home again, you will listen to mommy and come right home without throwing a fit, can you do that?"
"Yes!" He said eagerly.
"Okay! I smiled, "Let's go!"
As expected Scotty had an amazing fun time at the park. About ten minutes before it was time to leave I gave him a little heads up. "We are going to leave in about ten minutes." He just kept playing happily. After I counted 100+ blessings in my head, I let him know it was time to leave. I got the dreaded "NO!" as a response. I walked over to him and smiled then said "I know you want to keep playing, but it's time to go. You can go down the slide one more time, while you do that, I'll start walking home, you can join me after you go down the slide."
He went down the slide, I started walking home...S...L....O....W.....L....Y.....And as soon as I saw him walk toward me I crouched down, threw open my arms and before he could do otherwise exclaimed "Thank you for LISTENING!" He ran into my arms and held my hand, on our walk home we talked about how much fun he'd had, and how excited I was to bring him to the park again because he'd listened.
I don't know if any of you readers out there have a spirited, independent, strong willed toddler like mine, but this moment was absolutely AMAZING moment for me as a parent, and Scott! This was PURE gold people, this was awesome!