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7 Ways to Be the Best Excuse Your Child Needs

Parents are often seen as the bad guys, so why not use this power for good? Get your child out of uncomfortable situations by becoming their best excuse.

Parents wear many hats: nurse, chauffeur, chef, therapist, and sometimes, professional excuse maker. Yes, you read that right! Sometimes, the best thing parents can do for their kids is to be the perfect excuse they need to escape those awkward or uncomfortable situations. Whether it’s an unbearable social gathering, an overwhelming activity, or just a bad day, we’ve got their back. Here are seven fun and effective ways to be the best excuse your child needs, sprinkled with a lighthearted touch and a whole lot of love.

Why Parents Make the Best Excuses

Firstly, parents make the best excuses because no one questions a parent’s authority. Whether it’s an urgent call, a sudden errand, or a mysterious family emergency, people tend to accept parental reasons without much skepticism. Secondly, parents are omnipresent (in a good way!). They know their children’s routines, friends, and even their quirks. This inside knowledge makes their excuses more believable and tailored to their child’s needs. Lastly, let’s face it: kids trust their parents. They know their parents will come through for them, and that’s what makes a parent’s excuses foolproof.

7 Strategies to Get Kids Out of Uncomfortable Situations

1. The Secret Hand Signal

Remember those spy movies where agents have covert signals to communicate? Well, it’s time to bring that into the family playbook. Establish a secret physical signal with your child. It could be something as simple as scratching their ear, tapping their foot, or adjusting their glasses. This signal is their SOS call for when they need you to step in with an excuse.

For example, at a birthday party that’s getting a bit too rowdy for their liking, a quick ear tug from your child can be your cue to swoop in and announce that you need their help with something urgent at home. Easy, subtle, and effective!

2. The Code Word

A secret code word is another fantastic tool. Choose a word that’s ordinary enough to blend into conversation but unique enough to stand out when used out of context. It could be something like “pineapple” or “unicorn.” Whenever your child uses this word in a sentence, you know they need an exit strategy.

Imagine your child is at a sleepover and feeling homesick. They call you and casually mention, “We had pineapple for dinner.” That’s your signal to come up with a solid excuse to bring them home. Maybe you suddenly “remember” that they have an early morning appointment or an urgent family event.

3. The Classic “Mom/Dad Needs Help”

This is a tried-and-true classic. Teach your child to use you as their go-to excuse. If they’re in an uncomfortable situation, they can simply say, “I think my mom/dad needs help with something. I should probably head home.” This excuse works wonders because it’s relatable and sounds responsible.

Let’s say your child is at a friend’s house and the environment starts to feel off. A quick, “I need to help my dad with some yard work” can be their ticket out. Plus, it gives them a sense of agency and responsibility, which is always a good thing.

4. The Emergency Text

In this digital age, texting is a lifeline. Create a predetermined text message that your child can send when they need an excuse. Something simple like “Need help” or even an emoji-only message will do the trick. As soon as you receive the message, you know it’s time to spring into action.

Maybe your child is at a gathering and feels overwhelmed. They send you the emergency text, and you can call them with an urgent task that requires their immediate presence. It’s quick, efficient, and provides a seamless escape.

5. The Mysterious Family Obligation

The beauty of a mysterious family obligation is its vagueness. No one questions the specifics because it’s a “family thing.” Teach your child to use this as their escape route. Whether it’s a sudden visit from a distant relative or an impromptu family meeting, it’s a surefire way to get them out of tricky situations.

For instance, your child is at a sports practice that’s running late, and they’re exhausted. They can simply tell the coach, “I have a family thing tonight, so I need to leave early.” It’s respectful and leaves no room for debate.

6. The Health Excuse

A health excuse is another reliable strategy. Whether it’s a headache, stomach ache, or general fatigue, health concerns are universally accepted reasons for needing a break. Equip your child with a few believable health-related excuses they can use when needed.

Imagine your child is at a school dance and starts feeling uncomfortable. A quick, “I’m not feeling well. I think I need to go home” will likely be met with understanding and concern, allowing them a graceful exit.

7. The Blame Game

This strategy involves blaming a strict household rule or a particular parent’s quirk. It’s a playful yet effective way to bow out of a situation. For example, if your child wants to leave a friend’s house early, they can say, “My mom is really strict about bedtimes” or “My dad always wants me home by 8 PM.”

It works because it shifts the responsibility to you, the parent, and away from them. (It’s better for parents to be the bad guys in these kinds of situations.) Plus, it reinforces the idea that parents have rules, which is generally accepted by other adults and children alike.

Parents Are a Child’s Safety Net

Being the best excuse your child needs isn’t about teaching them to lie or avoid responsibilities. It’s about providing them with a safety net, a reliable escape plan for those moments when they feel overwhelmed, uncomfortable, or just need a way out. By equipping them with these strategies, you’re helping them navigate social situations with confidence and assurance that you’ve got their back. (But be careful; this can easily become a double edged sword if your child starts name-dropping to get out of responsibilities.)

Remember, the key to these strategies is trust and communication. Make sure your child knows they can always count on you, no matter the situation. And who knows? These little escape plans might just become cherished family secrets and stories you’ll laugh about for years to come.

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Shaelyn Topolovec earned a BA in Editing and Publishing from BYU, worked on several online publications, and joined the Familius family. Shae is currently an editor and copywriter who lives in California’s Central Valley.

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