Child Development

Easing Transitions with Your Toddler

Toddlers live in the moment. They like what they like and they don’t like change. They fight any and all limits. They hang on to control, because in reality they have so little of it. Making any transition—from leaving the playground to getting into the bathtub—can be stressful for child and caregiver alike. Magination Press’s Terrific Toddlers series, written by Carol Zeavin and Rhona Silverbush, covers the day-to-day dramas most experienced by toddlers and the adults who care for them. This revolutionary and unique series is the first ever to handle the topics in carefully researched, developmentally appropriate ways for toddlers. Here’s an adapted excerpt from the Note to Parents and Caregivers in Terrific Toddlers’ Time to Go!, providing tips to ease transitions with your toddler. Give a head’s up when possible. It’s helpful to signal to toddlers that their current activity is coming to an end. You can use "toddler-time" phrases like “after one more song,” or you can use a term like “five more minutes.” (“Five more minutes works” in this context, but not in a situation when you are leaving and your toddler needs a more concrete understanding of when you’ll be returning.) Toddlers don’t know how long five more minutes is, so your five minutes can be as long as you need it to be... The important thing is to give the signal that it’s almost time to switch gears. Have a routine. Have a “first this, then that” routine which can guide them through a transition. For example, when getting ready to go to the park, your routine could be “first put on shoes, then have a snack.” That’s the routine to get ready to leave for the park. Toddlers can express their need for control by learning to do parts of the routine themselves. Use transitional objects. These are the things they’ve been playing with and don’t want to leave behind. For example, your toddler is playing with a toy train and doesn’t want to leave it to get in the bathtub. Encourage your toddler to “drive” the train into the bathroom. Carrying along a transitional object can help ease your toddler’s transition. Be matter of fact. Be patient but firm. Tell them you wish they could keep playing, because you do, for their sake. Label what is happening (“You really like the playground, but now it’s time to go"), so they can understand themselves and feel understood. Give a choice... Offer two choices, both of which are okay with you. “Do you want to carry your shovel or should I?" "You can walk or I will carry you.” They can choose, exercising their control, and you can achieve the transition you need. ...and then go. Endless negotiations will not get the job done and toddlers feel more secure when a grown up actually takes charge (in a benevolent way, of course…). Take a breath. Explain that since they are having a hard time, you will help them—and pick them up and go. Battles

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Easing Transitions with Your Toddler 2020-11-18T21:27:48-05:00

Five Ways to Reassure Your Toddler About the Arrival of a New Baby

For toddlers, having a new baby is a real shock. They are confused about the little intruder—angry sometimes, genuinely in love other times. It’s a complicated time. Magination Press’s Terrific Toddlers series, written by Carol Zeavin and Rhona Silverbush, covers the day-to-day dramas most experienced by toddlers and the adults who care for them. This revolutionary and unique series is the first ever to handle the topics in carefully researched, developmentally appropriate ways for toddlers. Here’s a excerpt from the Note to Parents and Caregivers in Terrific Toddlers' New Baby!, providing tips to reassure your toddler about your new arrival. Keep it Simple The most important thing you can do is recognize and validate your toddler’s fears and mixed feelings. Answer their questions briefly and matter-of-factly. Try not to tell them too early that the baby is coming. Instead when until they notice Mommy’s belly growing, simply tell them that a baby is growing inside. Use “toddler time” such as “when the leaves turn pretty colors” or “after Grandma visits” to describe when the baby will arrive. Wait until just a couple of weeks before the baby is due to give logistical details about what will happen around the birth—where they will be, and who will take care of them during the birth. Let Them Help Toddlers love being helpful! Give them simple jobs, like fetching a blanket or a diaper. Including them in baby-related activities will help them feel like they are an important part of their newly-structured family. Expect Aggression Attempts at hitting, biting, and grabbing things are normal. While protecting the baby, it’s important to respect and validate your toddler’s anger by giving it an outlet. Encouraging your child stomp their feet or make other appropriate expressions of anger have been shown to healthily reduce the upset and show your toddler that you don’t think their feelings are “bad.” Labeling their feelings also helps: “It’s okay to be angry” or “You’re really mad.” Expect Regression Toddlers with a new baby may wish to be a baby again, too, and they need to know that it’s okay with you. If they regress a bit—lose ground on potty training or want to be cuddled like a baby—indulge them for as long as they need. This reassurance will calm their fears of losing both you and their baby self, and it shows you understand them. Give Them Some One-on-One Time They used to have you all to themselves. They still need your whole-hearted and whole-bodied attention. Find games you can play together, an outing, a story time—just Mommy and/or Daddy and toddler. The most important thing you can do is recognize and validate your toddler’s fears and mixed feelings. Reassure them as often as they show you they need, that they are still your baby and you will always be their Mommy and Daddy. To learn more about the books in the Terrific Toddler's series, click here.

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Five Ways to Reassure Your Toddler About the Arrival of a New Baby 2020-11-11T20:20:25-05:00

4 Tips to Ease the Transition to Preschool

Young children go through many, sometimes challenging, developmental phases. Magination Press’s Big Little Talks series by Alberto Pellai, MD, PhD, and Barbara Tamborini, provide fun stories to ease both parents and children through typical and common life stages using empathic listening and encouraging an understanding of age-appropriate behavior and emotions. For many kids, starting school is the first time they are separated from their attachment figures—the people who have cared for them for the first few years of their life (parents, grandparents, nannies, etc.) The start of preschool almost always involves a phase of crisis. Some children may break down on the first day of school and refuse to let their attachment figure leave. Others run off to explore, immediately at ease, and say goodbye to attachment figures as if they are dismissing them. Then weeks later, they refuse to go, seemingly out of nowhere. It's as if they are done exploring and now want to return to their previous, familiar life. This excerpt from the Reader's Note in I Don't Want to Go to School provides four tips to help ease your young child's transition to preschool. You know your child well, so try to follow their lead. Tip #1:  Stay Calm To help a child learn to feel safe, even in the absence of their attachment figure, the parent or caregiver needs to be (or at least appear to be) calm at the moment of separation. Children take their cues from us: if we are upset, they are much more likely to be upset. If we are calm, there's a greater chance they will calm down. Don't, however, compare your child to other children ("see how brave he is?") This is likely to just make them feel inadequate. Tip #2:  Create Excitement Starting preschool is an important growth event for your child; try to convey this idea to them as well. "You are ready to go to school! You will meet new friends, learn new games, and explore a bigger world that's full of great things." When they come home, ask about their day and what they learned, and listen attentively. If you are excited and interested, it is more likely that they will be as well. Tip #3:  Try a Gradual Transition When a child begins preschool, they need to remember a lot of new information: where to hang up their coat what to do if they need to use the bathroom who to tell if they don't feel well, etc. They also find themselves surrounded by lots of unfamiliar kids who are just as disoriented as they are. A gradual transition may help with this information overload. Collaborate with your school and your teachers to figure out the best path to support your child. Tip#4:  Reinforce their autonomy The primary objective of preschool is to help children feel that they are capable of doing things on their own. The important role of parents and caregivers is to understand the child's basic need for autonomy and avoid trivializing, or worse,

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4 Tips to Ease the Transition to Preschool 2020-11-16T21:49:43-05:00