One comment we hear a lot, especially from parents of new students, is…

“My child says he/she doesn’t want to come to class, but once they’re here, they love it. It’s just so hard to get them to come to class, and I don’t want to force them to do something they don’t want to do.”

Here are some tips smart parents use on How To Get Kids To Leave When They’re Having Fun

  1. Remember how it feels when you are interrupted in the middle of a meaningful conversation.

Think of when you are chatting with a friend, and your child says “MOMMMM!”. It can feel alarming and you put up your defenses. That’s how it can feel for our children.

  1. When a child is having fun, it’s all consuming. Connect then request.

Play is the way a child makes sense of the world. Transitioning out of play is a BIG DEAL. This is why it’s important to build transition time.

Start by connecting with them. “What are you playing right now? Tell me more.”

  1. Give them notice before it’s time to go.

How to do this?

  • A timer (let them set the time)
  • Remind them at 5 minutes, 2 minutes, and 30 seconds
  • Tell them the plan for leaving before you get there

ATA Pro tip – instead of asking them to leave when they’re on their tablet, watching TV, or playing with a friend, try having them do a less “desirable” task 15-30 minutes before it’s time to leave. If you say it’s time to go during homework, reading, or quiet time, then having to leave the house takes on a different perspective.

  1. Be their logical brain.

It can be reallllly hard for a child to access logic and reasoning when it’s time to go.

Instead, be their logic for them.

What does this look like? “I hear you; you really don’t want to leave! Let me help you get ready to go.”

ATA Pro tip – have uniform, belt, shoes, bag, good habits sheets, training tools etc. all in one easy access place for them to grab and go.

  1. Anticipate big emotions

Your child may NEED to cry about leaving in order for them to be ready to transition to the next task.

This is OK.

Give your child time to release their feelings while you hold the boundaries.

“I get you don’t want to go. It’s hard. And, it’s still time to leave.”

  1. Tell the child the plan

Telling your child the plan allows them to start to focus on what is next.

Include them in the plan by giving them a sense of choice over what they can do.

“When we get home, we can make dinner. Do you want to help me make dinner or go practice?”

ATA Pro tip – You can book your classes in the Spark app up to 10 days out. Sit down as a family and plan out when you will attend classes for the week before the week begins. This eliminates surprises and limits outbursts. Ask your child instead of “Do you want to go this week”, “Which days do you want to go this week, Monday or Wednesday?”. Once you get into a routine, it’s much easier and more fun when they know it’s ATA day.