You’re Leaving The Playground All Wrong

Leaving the playground doesn’t have to be an anxiety-producing, three-hour affair. When you work with your toddler’s natural inclinations, it’s downright easy! Prime your toddler’s cute little brain by lovingly calling out her name and saying, “We’re leaving in two minutes. I’m starting the timer now.”


Notice the other parents eyeing the pamphlet in your hand: An Illustrated Guide to Get Any Toddler to Leave the Playground. Explain that it’s “ironic and not at all something I need to get my two-year-old to get into the car.”


BUZZ! Your timer has gone off. Turn the volume up all the way and yell out “TIMER’S DONE!” Your toddler runs to you. See – so easy! You just needed the timer trick.


What, you already pressed the clear button? Of course your toddler burst into tears and ran away. Are you some sort of idiot?


Run after your toddler.


Explain that the timer was real. Explain that time is real. Explain that you will not set another time.


Set another timer.


Watch as another parent kindly calls out to her child to leave and the child runs up to the mommy, hugs her, and says “ok mommy, let’s go.”


Whisper “fuck you” to the parent.




Wait – where’s your toddler? Calm down! It’s fine, I’m sure she’s here somewhere. It’s not like the playground is close to a busy street where she could easily escape and get hit by a car. Oh it is? That seems like poor city planning – have you thought about running for city council on a platform for playground safety? Don’t get distracted – go find your daughter! Maybe yell out your daughter’s name? A little louder. SCREAM IT LOUDER!


Look, she’s hiding in the covered slide. Isn’t that clever?


She seems to be holding a plank on the slide. Your daughter’s unnaturally strong, huh? I bet she could beat you in an arm-wrestling competition. No you’re right, that’s not really relevant to getting her down the slide and into your car.


Now focus – we want to work with your child’s natural urges. That’s how we make leaving the playground stress-free. Tell your daughter that she can press the button to set the timer – that tricks her little brain into thinking she’s in control. See, she loves that idea. Yikes, it looked like it really hurt when she hit you in the face as she hurled down the slide.


It seems like she doesn’t want to engage with the timer. Weird.


Just this once, lie to your toddler and tell her that you have a puppy waiting at home for her, if she leaves this very second. OMG, did you actually do that? That was a test. FAIL!


I don’t want to alarm you, but it seems like the other parents in the playground are talking about you. No, not in a good way. Smile. Um, not like that.


Your alarm is going off again. Hold it up like it’s Simba in the Lion King.


Here comes your daughter. Like I said, when you work with her undeveloped brain, things go so much smoother. DON’T press the stop button. Bend down and let her do that. See, wasn’t that easy?


Wait, why is your toddler yelling that you’re a stranger who’s trying to lure her out of the playground with candy? Did you hear that – your daughter used the word “lure.” She has a GREAT vocabulary. Oh, right, not really the point. Take her hand and start walking out of the playground. No, she shouldn’t be screaming like that.


Oh wow, that’s a lot of cop cars.


Explain to the stern officer that your daughter was playing a game she made-up called “mommy is a kidnapper.” Immediately concede that a toddler wouldn’t come up with that idea on her own. Agree that this game is not appropriate.


Explain why you have An Illustrated Guide to Get Any Toddler to Leave the Playground. 


Wait for your husband to arrive with your daughter’s birth certificate to prove your parental rights.


Watch as a police officer pushes your daughter on the swing as she yells out “this is my real mommy!”


Oh look, there’s dad. Watch as your toddler runs to him, takes his hand, and walks home.