Parents of young children frequently have a hard time getting out the door. There’s so much to do before you can go: the diaper bag has to be packed, jackets must be put on, shoes must be put on. There are often tantrums as we try to rush toddlers out the door.
Slow down! Plan some extra time to allow your child to get used to the fact that we’re going to put away our toys and leave soon. In our house, we tell L, “Go get your shoes,” and she immediately drops whatever she’s doing and runs to the mudroom — L is excited that she gets to find her shoes by herself, so she doesn’t put up a fight when it’s time to go. If she starts resisting when she’s a little older, we’ll start by telling her 5 minutes ahead of time that we’re going to leave soon: “After you put all the animals back in the bucket, you can go get your shoes.” For now, we don’t have that problem.
L’s shoes are on a shelf that she can reach. We tell her what color shoe to get, and she races over to find the right pair. She climbs onto the couch and we help her put them on. L is an expert at taking her shoes off, but she’s still working on putting them on by herself. Since it’s summer now, we don’t have to worry about jackets. For the fall, her jackets are hanging on low hooks on our coat stand so she get that for herself as well. Allowing your child to help with the process of leaving makes her much more agreeable — this is now an interactive adventure instead of a passive process the child must sit through to go wherever Mommy is taking her. It’s all in how you present the task at hand: as a chore, or as an opportunity to do something “by myself!”