What comes to mind when you think of the word “transition”?
It’s one of those words that, in the early childhood biz, gets referenced quite a bit.
But to people who are not early childhood teachers, or experts in child development, transitions can look totally invisible.
In fact many parents that I work with will come to me with a major, massive struggle in their lives – being unable to leave the house because of their child’s temper tantrums (which started when they offered their kids the wrong shoes), for example – and it turns out to be a transition issue.
Transitions show up in the following ways:
1. Moving from one locale to another.
We see this when it’s time to leave the house, for school, for a doctors appointment, for daycare, for grocery shopping… Even to play at a friends house. It’s just so hard for kids to stop doing what they are doing and start doing something else.
2. Going from season to season.
If they really love their sandals, having to put on snow boots and say bye-bye to sandals until spring can feel so frustrating.
Maybe they hate the scratchy feeling of jeans, and all they want is to wear shorts or a skirt and not feel cloth on their legs.
Maybe it’s saying goodbye to the Halloween decorations, even though there is all the fun of different decorations to come. It can still just be super difficult to leave the old, even when the new holds the promise of enjoyment.
3. Changing from one activity to another.
This can happen any time we need to say to a kid “time to stop what you’re doing and come to… [the table for lunch/your room to change a diaper/the bathtub to get clean/etc.”]
Please note, it’s difficult even when the activity to come is a fun one that your child looks forward to.
Some kids just struggle with transitions.
And it’s not just kids who struggle.
Transitions can be really tough on adults as well!
What makes transitions easier?
Simply put, recognizing transitions for what they are.
When we can say to ourselves “oh… I know what this is! It’s a transition,” it takes the mystery out of what had been a mysterious situation.
So the next time your kiddo gets frustrated when it’s time to say bye-bye to the old, and bring in the new, whether it’s a simple everyday activity, a change in season, or leaving one location and moving to another, give yourself a moment to ask the following question: is this a transition?
If the answer is yes, the best solution I have found is to give your child all the empathy you can muster.
“I understand how sad it feels when we have to put away our winter boots until next year. Do you feel sad right now?”
Give your child a chance to process, and express, these feelings.
Even nonverbal children can understand feelings. They understand our empathy, and it’s what helps them move forward.
Into the next season, or activity, or locale.
Wishing you well as you help your child through these transitions!
Keep reading below for What’s up on the podcast/in the Ninja Parenting Community…
Wishing you a wonderful parenting week!
What’s up on the podcast this week:
It’s the final installment in our 4-part series on how how to school-proof your young child – in other words, how to make it so that school doesn’t screw your kiddo up!
Click the link below to listen:
What’s up in the Ninja Parenting Community this week:
I’m hosting the first of our two monthly live, members only calls today! Ninja parents, if you’ve got a question about anything parent, child, or family-related, click the link below:
(If you are not yet a member of NPC, but would like to become one, click here.)
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