Dads Discipline: The Slow Count

So you eat at McDonald’s.  Big deal.  If you let your kids use the PlayPlace, the food is the least of your concerns.

There’s always this bully, Streptococcus, who lingers where parents can’t see him; and without fail, a little boy has leaked on the slide.  On our final visit to the PlayPlace a little girl slid through a pee-puddle and completely melted down.  My daughter witnessed this and was mortified.

Never again!

Bacterial infections and urine-coated slides aside, what really drove me nuts about the PlayPlace was my getting my kids to leave the damn place.

Kids! It’s time to go home now.  

Kids climb higher knowing I’m too large and inflexible to physically retrieve them.  After a few pleas to “make the right choice” the slow count begins:


Maniacal laughter.  They know they’ve got 2 more numbers of freedom.


Last chance negotiations begin.  I begin to question my validity as a parent.


Reach up madly, dislocating shoulder and spewing countless irrational and impossible-to-follow-through-with threats.  Kids make their way to the slide where Dad waits at the bottom. Angry. Defeated.

Never again!


Do you do the slow count?

Does it work for you?

Do you feel like an idiot when you do it?




The Beginning
About James Hudyma

Dad. Husband. Teacher. Canadian. Guitar Picker. Songwriter.

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  1. I did the never again too many times as a parent. I’ll never learn.

    • James Hudyma says:

      Yep. These certainly will not be my last “never again” statements.

  2. Sigh. I count but never say whether I’m counting to 10 or 5 or what. My wife rides me all the time about this. I just assume the boys will get the point by 3 or so, and if not, start raising my voice around 7 signifying I’m going for 10. I’m pretty sure I’m doing it wrong, but oddly enough, it seems to work.

    And yes, I feel like an idiot more often than not.

  3. AskAGreatDad says:

    Everytime my kid gets together with one friend she always gets sick, so I can imagine the germ farm festering in those playsets. My daughter is the bulldozer you are referring to, but she is just over affectionate. The countdown results in laughter, the don’t you dare with finger wagging brings mocking, I can’t win and she is not even two.

    • James Hudyma says:

      With my wife and I both being teachers, our kids are sick for about 10 months of the year. My daughter just started listening when she turned 5. My son turned 2 in the spring and listens most of the time. His terrible two-ness has come in the form of temper tantrums.

  4. You have more patience than I do. I have never done the slow count.
    I give a five minute warning. I give 2 minute warning. I give a one minute warning. Then, I walk out the door.
    The way I see it is if they know I will count after I say it’s time to go, then it isn’t really time to go until after I count. Mine are very tenacious. They need limits. Numbers have no limits. If I counted, they would try to get me to go to 100.
    Same goes for when we are leaving the house. Some of my older kids are teens now. If they aren’t in the car on time, they’ve lost their ride.
    I want them to respect other people’s time, and I think that making me or anyone wait is disrespectful.

    • EduDad says:

      That’s a great philosophy that I am going to incorporate. Thanks Gina.

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