The 2-minute warning.
The biggest rookie mistake you can make as a new parent is to forget the 2-minute warning.
That’s when you give your little kids a reminder that in 2 minutes, the activity they are currently engaged in is about to end.
It’s what you yell on the playground as they run around with friends.
It’s what you say when their favorite TV show is about to end.
It’s what you say when they’re playing legos and it’s time to go to bed.
Kids need transitions. They need a little bit of a heads up. They love surprises that are made of sugar but hate being surprised when it comes to the conclusion of fun events.
The older they get, the more nuanced the warnings get.
I have a 10-year-old and an 8-year-old. Now, we ask them for feedback on the warning. I’ll say, “We’re thinking about leaving in 10 minutes, what do you think?” More often than not, they shake their heads and we all move on. Not only did they get a warning, they got a little bit of autonomy.
If responding by telling me, “Nah, we’re staying at the park for another hour,” I would tell them, “That’s adorable. You think you have the veto.”
Give the warning. Transition like a champ. Move on with the rest of your day.