transitions: 3 Articles

Help Your Child Manage Transitions During COVID-19 and the Holidays

Transitions Can Be Hard A child’s life is full of transitions. Most of these are small and occur daily, such as shifts from home to school or from play to responsibilities. Around the winter holidays children typically face a series of much bigger transitions including from school to home, routine to down time, and back again over the course of just a few weeks! This annual period of upheaval in routine is further complicated this year by the COVID-19 pandemic. Children typically only have to transition in and out of school around the holidays; this year many children have been shifting between in-person, remote, and hybrid learning almost all  year. These changes can be taxing to many children and may make them more vulnerable to struggle with the upcoming holiday transitions. Luckily, there are several simple steps that parents can take to help their child prepare for and skillfully adapt to the many transitions of the season. Talk About It Well intended parents often do not mention upcoming transitions to children with the noble intention of sparing them potential stress. However, kids typically do best when their world is predictable, and they know what to expect. Discuss the upcoming transition with your child during a calm moment. Review what will be different and check in on how they are feeling. For example, a parent might say “In two days your winter break will start! That means you will not go to school. You will be home with grandma at first and then with me. It will feel pretty different than a normal school day. How are you feeling about that?”. If your child shares worry or uncertainty, validate their feelings. Additionally, allow time for them to ask questions about the changes. When you answer the questions, express confidence in their ability to handle the transition well. Create Routines Transitions often feel stressful to children because of their inherent unpredictability compared to normal life. Even when the new activity is something fun like making cookies or going sledding, day after day of unpredictability can wear on children. Whether going back to school after a holiday break or from to remote learning from in-person, look for opportunities to make the days as predictable as possible for your child. Talk with your child about how they want to spend their time. Though holiday break days can and should have more flexibility than normal school days, try to stick with a relatively consistent schedule that includes similar sleep, meal, and movement times each day. It’s also important to build time for relaxation and soothing activities like a “mindful minute” during each day. Try to help your child find a balance between being over- and under-scheduled. As you and your child collaboratively make their schedule, get specific about what they will do independently during the day and what they need your help with. Breaks can be a great opportunity for kids to practice taking on new self-care tasks with more independence. This will make

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Help Your Child Manage Transitions During COVID-19 and the Holidays 2020-12-09T21:37:26-05:00

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

Share Wordless Books to Ease Young Children’s Transitions

When you are a little kid, everything is new. The unknown can be unsettling, making changes and transitions challenging. As the parent of a toddler or preschooler, helping your child feel safe and confident involves providing consistency and routine when you can, and helping your child understand upcoming events and changes in their lives. Sharing a book is a great way to help your toddler or preschooler calm the anxiety or tension that comes with change or transitions. Wordless books are especially good for this age group. By talking about the pictures with your child, you can create a story together that your child can relate to. Sleepy Time and Baby Belly by Patricia Martin are wordless board books from Magination Press that are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. They explore two common experiences for young children: bedtime and the impending arrival of a new sibling. Getting ready for bed can be a soothing routine, but it can be stressful, too. Everyone is tired at the end of the day, sometimes making the steps more challenging. By keeping to a routine, your little one knows what to expect and can feel some control over the situation. Reading Sleepy Time with your child provides you and your child the opportunity to talk about your family’s own bedtime routine, and can set the stage for your child’s bedtime process. Baby Belly chronicles a young child’s observation that his mom’s tummy is getting bigger and bigger. The child’s curious and sometimes skeptical expression conveys his wonder and speculation about the changes in his mom and his life. Highlighting Mom’s gradually growing tummy, the pictures show the family preparing for and welcoming a new baby. Talking about this process, and how the child and mom might be feeling, by reading Baby Belly is an excellent way to introduce a young child to the idea of a new sibling.  Don’t be thrown by wordless books. They provide you with the freedom to tailor the story to your child’s experiences, interests, and attention span. By talking about the pictures with your child, and asking questions and listening to your child’s answers, you can personalize the story! Here are some tips to make your wordless book experience successful: Talk about the pictures. Describe what is happening in the pictures. Ask your child what they see.  Make connections to your child’s experiences. Point out similarities: “Look! He has a toy elephant too!” “What kinds of toys do you like to play with in the bathtub?” Explore feelings. Encourage your child to look carefully at the character’s expressions and the pictures in general. Ask your child how she thinks a character feels. Name different feelings. Read it again. Repetition is soothing and builds familiarity and vocabulary. Let your child read the story.  After you’ve shared a wordless book a few times with your child, ask your child to read it to you. Let them tell the story as they see it.  Follow their lead. If your child wants to linger

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Share Wordless Books to Ease Young Children’s Transitions 2020-03-23T14:16:13-04:00