Parenting coach shares BRILLIANT tips for preventing a toddler meltdown when it’s time to go

Parenting coach shares toddler meltdown tips

If you’ve never uttered “five more minutes and it’s time to go home,” then you’ve probably never parented a toddler. Or maybe your kids are amazing listeners with a well-developed sense of time and urgency. Either way, we all know that whole “five more minutes” strategy doesn’t really work most of the time, right?

Parenting coach Chelsey Hauge-Zavaleta recently shared a video on TikTok highlighting a technique that will avoid a toddler meltdown when it’s time to go—aka the Holy Grail of toddler parenting. (Hauge-Zavaleta is also a mom of three, so she’s been there, done that like the rest of us.)

In the clip, she shares footage of Australian dad Luke Trevillian announcing to his sons, who are playing in a bouncy castle, that they’re leaving in “five minutes.” Predictably, the young boys aren’t having it and even try negotiating amid their own toddler meltdowns.

“This is going to end in a meltdown,” Hauge-Zavaleta correctly predicts in the viral TikTok she stitched with Trevillian.

Why? Because the way we think and the way our young kiddos think simply aren’t the same when it comes to moments of transition, among other things.

“There’s a fundamental clash of perspectives between the adult brain and the child brain when you’re trying to transition,” Hauge-Zavaleta says. “This dad is future-oriented. You know how I know? he said, ‘Hey, guys, five minutes and then we’re leaving.’ His language is focused on what comes next.”

Hauge-Zavelta explains that the kids are focused on what they’re doing right now. Trevillian eventually stopped filming the video of his kids because of the tantrum. Hauge-Zavaleta offers some golden tantrum tips: the key to transitioning from a preferred activity to a less preferred activity boils down to understanding how your child’s brain works, and working with it instead of against it.

“Focus on what they’re focusing on,” she says. Instead of saying, “Five more more till we leave,” try “Five more minutes to play.”

Once mom or dad has established that a transition is happening, joining your kids for those last few minutes of play can make a huge difference. “Getting close is a way of holding firmness,” she says. She also says it’s important to remember there is a fundamental mismatch between a parent’s perspective and a child’s perspective when it comes to transitions.

“Parents are very forward focused. You’re leaving the park and you’re thinking, ‘Are we going to get home in time to do the next thing?” she tells “And you’re child is in the moment. They are thinking, ‘This bouncy house, or this swing is so delightful.’”

And while we’re focused on the future, our kids aren’t. Hence the focus on “play” instead of “leaving.”

“The future has very little meaning to our kids. They’re thinking, ‘Why would I want to get off this swing to go to the grocery store when I’m getting a sensory delight and my friend is here.”