Departures: Be a Parent, Not a Predator

Leaving the park with an unwilling toddler is a delicate situation. If the toddler is like my daughter, she won’t want the fun to ever end. So, she resists. Loudly.

You can try to bribe the child to leave peacefully.

Or you can drag them away as they scream “NOOOOO!!! STOP!!!!”

Either way, you look like a child predator.

Many trips to the playground have ended up looking like I was trying to kidnap my own child.

From a distance, all you see is an adult forcing a screaming child into a van. I’m often tempted to shout at strangers, “It’s ok! I promise she is mine! I have the stretch marks to prove it!”

I’ve attempted techniques of negotiating: “If we leave the park with no crying, we can get ice cream on the way home.

“Then if we leave the ice cream parlor without a tantrum, we can watch an extra hour of TV at home …”

Eventually, you run out of treats.

Next was a system of fair warning: “Forty-five minutes left! Twenty minutes until we leave! Five more minutes!”

I discovered that this just gives her ample time to hide from me in a jungle gym crevice I can’t reach.

My last tactic has been the “Grab and Go.”

This system truly causes alarm in any bystanders, but it’s the most effective.

You simply grab your child, run to the car and buckle that five-point harness before she realizes what’s happening.

This eliminates any public displays of defiance, and you’re halfway home before the screams of protest reach eardrum-shattering levels.

Obviously, I haven’t found the key to an easy departure when it comes to my 3-year-old and play areas.

I’m open to suggestions, but mostly I would like to avoid ending up on the news as a person of interest in a possible Amber Alert.

Watch Baby Bump Editor Katie Saltz on ABC36 News@Noon on the first Thursday of each month. She shares her favorite products and resources for parents and babies, and always has giveaway prizes for viewers!