Instead Of Telling Your Kid ‘5 More Minutes’, Try Saying This To Avoid Freakouts

five-minute warning kids

How many times this week have you issued the “five-minute warning” to your kids?

“Five more minutes and we’re leaving the playground.”

“You have five more minutes to dance naked in front of the mirror and then it’s bath time.”

“I’m giving you five minutes to clean up this mess before security arrives and kicks us out of this Costco. Again.”

Then what happens? Twenty minutes pass, the five minutes are up, and the kids freak out even though they can a) tell time and b) THEY WERE WARNED.

The Offspring blog over on Lifehacker stumbled upon this awesome suggestion on Reddit as a replacement for the “five-minute warning.”

Instead of using time, tell your kids they have 7 more times or turns to do whatever they’re doing.

Here’s how it works:

“When mine were younger, say, three or four, and it was close to time to stop playing at the park or in the pool, I always gave them plenty of warning using a concrete timeline that they could understand.

Instead of saying “we’re leaving soon” or “five more minutes,” I would tell them something like, “Okay, let me see you jump in the pool. Seven more jumps and we’re leaving.”

Sometimes the number was higher, but never less than five. Less than five was always met with “come on, just one more!” Which usually wasn’t allowed.

Seven or more was always such a big number that they seemed to get their fill and were ready to go when it was time.”

This is a fantastic suggestion, but I’d like to add this little piece of advice.


The reason kids freak out is our fault. I’m just as guilty. We say “five more minutes” and a half-hour passes and then suddenly we’re adamant about going. Then the kids freak – probably because they assumed we’re staying forever since it’s been much longer than five minutes.

We get pissed. The kids lose their shit. And now Costco security has arrived, and everyone is losing their minds.

Pick a number.

Make the kid count.

Once they hit, the number hit the bricks.

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