We’ve all been there: You have somewhere important to be, but your fancy, pleasure-seeking 7-year-old has barricaded himself in the sauna with his Beyblades and a carafe of Fresca and is absolutely refusing to get out. Luckily, there are some tricks you can use to lure your stubborn little leisure lord from his repose so you can carry on with your day.
1. Cut off the Wi-Fi: Your little leisure lord is never more in his element than when he’s decadently reclined in the sauna browsing the latest Omaha Steaks catalog on his LeapFrog tablet through a pair of opera glasses, bookmarking all his favorite steak deals so that family and friends will know what to gift him when his First Communion comes around. This is his happy place, and it would be extremely jarring for him if you were to “accidentally” disable the Wi-Fi and cut him off from his sumptuous online beef fantasies. Yes, he will likely throw a massive tantrum—tearfully flailing the Babar ascot his grandma made him while screaming that you’re a “low-bred TJ Maxx mongrel”—but he’ll have to leave the sauna to do so, and that’s all that matters.
2. Offer to let him drink some red wine: Ever since seeing a tacky watercolor in the Maggiano’s men’s room of Bacchus merrily waving a wine goblet over an adoring throng of nude angels, your pint-size bon vivant has been borderline obsessed with the idea of drinking wine, to the point where his teacher even caught him trying to ferment grapes in his cubby at school. So why not just offer the kid, like, half a sippy cup of wine to get him out of the sauna? He’ll go apeshit. And it’s not like it’ll hurt him or anything; European parents give their kids wine all the time.
3. Warn him that Santa is watching: Your boy lives for the sauna. He considers it the height of luxury and will disappear into it for hours on end, often eating his meals there. On most sauna days, he’ll bring in a whole loaf of French bread from Kroger, his take-home Maggiano’s lasagna (which he calls “Sultan’s Loaf”), and a carafe of room-temperature Fresca, believing these are the most expensive foods in the world. His love for the sauna is only matched by his great fear and respect for Santa, who he depends on each year to furnish the luxury goods required to maintain his epicurean lifestyle, such as straw fedoras and European candies from the duty-free store at the airport. By reminding him that obeying one’s parents is the No. 1 prerequisite for winning Santa’s favor, he will exit the sauna feigning great remorse and perhaps even offer to do some chores—whatever it takes to avoid the dreaded “naughty” designation.
4. Threaten to revoke his Susan Boyle privileges: To your little hedonist, the music of popular singer Susan Boyle represents the pinnacle of artistic achievement, and he has spent countless hours loudly belting along to her rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream” while standing atop the sauna bench, believing that it lends him an air of regal sophistication. He utterly adores Susan Boyle, and if you were to threaten to take his collection of her CDs away from him, he would almost surely rethink his stubborn refusal to vacate the sauna. And on the off chance that doesn’t work, there are plenty of other ways you can play hardball. Say that, unless he comes out of the sauna, he can’t wear his tuxedo to soccer practice anymore. Threaten to stop reading him bedtime stories from Cigar Aficionado, or tell him he’s no longer allowed to use the rowing configuration on the Bowflex to make-believe he’s one of the Winklevoss twins. Show him you mean business, and he’ll buckle.
5. Challenge his deeply held notion that the sauna is essential to his anti-aging regimen: Your tiny epicurean takes skin care very seriously for a 7-year-old, and he firmly believes that an hour of daily sauna time will imbue him with the youthful glow of a 5- or even 4-year-old. But what he doesn’t know is that the intense dry heat of the sauna actually dilates his capillaries, leaving him highly susceptible to a reddish inflammation of the skin not unlike that of the psoriatic teacher’s aide at his school, the sight of whose blotchy pigmentation often leaves him so despondent that he comes home off the school bus crying. Casually mention this fact to him and he’ll immediately burst out of the sauna, clutching his face and screaming “My melanin! My melanin!”
6. Sternly count to three: Shit works every time.