Kids' Transitions: 3 Loving Steps
It’s time for a kids’ transition. Where do you start? Perhaps your child wants to learn how to tie shoes. Maybe it’s time to sleep in their own bed. Or what if they need to stop using a pacifier?
Ugh. Some of these even we aren’t ready for!
What can we do to help kids through a transition without getting in the way of their independence or harming them emotionally?
Start with a loving attitude and everything else flows from there.
1. Break a kids’ transition down in manageable steps. Most kids do not like sudden, indescriminant change. The thought of giving something up completely or starting something new is hard. An example of breaking a big transition down to small manageable steps looks like this:
Transition from crib to bed:
- Place the new bed in the room. Keep it in there long enough for it to lose it’s “new furniture” status.
- Use the bed for reading stories before bed/naptime. Associate the new bed with relaxing and getting ready for sleep.
- Start letting them them choose where to sleep every bed/naptime. Hopefully, they are so enamored by the soft fluffy big kid bed that a crib with a hard mattress and rails seems unappealing.
- Start with nap time in the big kid bed where you can control the environment better. (And it’s not the middle of the night when we all lose all normal sense of reality!)
2. Set reasonable expectations. From here, it depends on how they are adjusting. “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” it’s said. Neither is getting a child through typical transitions.
Talk to others who have weathered similar transitions to get a rough estimate of expectations. Remember: your child is like no one else’s, though. And you are not like every other mother. Do what works best for both of you.
3. Celebrate progress, no matter how small. Kids’ transitions are the equivalent of adults deciding to climb Mount Everest. Each step should be celebrated and acknowledged!
This will give them the fortitude to kick a habit or develop a new good one. We can reward progress while we are in the process!
I hope this gives you the hope and encouragement you need to lovingly help your kids through a new change. As their moms, we have the special honor of being there for them through changing times — loving them through it, one step at a time.
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