Just so ya know….this post is not meant to be read apart from my prior post about the Blue Boat. Without understanding the motive, these tips will not hold the weight to them that I would desire for anyone who might read. So, if you’re new here and haven’t read the backstory, please take a minute to go back and read this to get the full context of this subject.
I want to offer some practical ideas, or “tools” that may help your child deal with simple commands that involve transition.
BE INTENTIONAL AND GIVE WARNING:
Kids need to know what is coming next.
Ex: I will use bath time as an example. My child is happily playing in the bath with bubbles and toys, but it’s time for him to get out. I’ll begin by letting him know he has 5 minutes left. Then follow through after 5 minutes.
Ex2: We have just returned from the store, but before we get out of the car I turn off the radio and get their attention. I explain the expectations I have for each one. “Get all of your trash, your drink, your toys etc…” and I assign a specific job for each child. One will help unload the bags, one will hold the door open, one will take the keys and lock the door when we are finished, etc….
TALK THROUGH WHAT IS NEXT:
Kids often feel less angry or intimidated if they know what’s next.
Ex: As we are getting ready to leave the house, talk through every step and expectation you expect for each child to eliminate any confusion.
Ex2: As you walk into a grocery store, explain to your child what they are to be responsible for. One will carry the list, one will sit in the front, one will help grab the item, one will organize the items in the cart.
Sometimes my kids tune me out, but I’ve noticed if I use a white board and draw pictures for them while I describe a lesson or a set of expectations they are much more able to understand and stay focused.
Ex: When the kids fight with one another I want them to understand how to work out conflict. I will often draw pictures on a white dry erase board to show the process of two people beginning to argue, then two people turning their backs on one another, then I go through options of how those two can become restored. Making the lesson visual helps them to understand bigger concepts.
Kids struggle when they are feeling pulled and hurried, especially if rushing occurs and they do not understand why.
Ex: If there IS a time to hurry, say, we are late to an event, I will take the extra moment to gather them all for a quick moment and explain to the kids as simply as I can that mom needs their help. I’ll say, “We need to be somewhere fast and I need every person to do their part.” Then I will list off each child’s name and give each child their own set of commands. We will then “break” and all get going as fast as we can…kind of like a game. They then feel they understand and are a part of the plan, rather than whining or bucking at my attempts to rush.
HAVE A CLEAR CUT OFF TIME:
Kids struggle if they are doing more than one thing at a time. Having a clear cut off time will help them move from one thing to another. Dragging it out causes confusion.
Ex: I have told my child they can watch 5 more minutes of their show but after that 5 minutes I will come back and have them put their shoes on. I will never let my child keep watching TV WHILE putting their shoes on. One task must end before the next begins. My child will turn the TV off and, in essence, say good bye to that activity, and we will move on to the next activity which is to now to put our shoes on.
THROW A PARTY:
No, I’m not joking. Giving warning, talking through things, and drawing pictures is sometimes enough for the small stuff. But for the bigger things like potty training, learning to sleep in a big kid bed, getting rid of pacifiers, or trying something new, using the tool of intentional celebration can work like magic.
Ex: Invite friends, family, neighbors and have them all play along. We throw a party for any major mile stone, even if it’s just immediate family it’s still worth it. It is a great thing to refer back to if the child struggles to move forward in an area, but often times the event itself works well enough to mark the child’s mind permanently.
***The key here is to be creative: This short list is only the tip of the iceberg. Your unique perspective into the individuality and needs of your own family based on your own circumstances can give you many more ideas of how to implement this concept in your home.
My next post later this week will be on “Paci Parties.” I’ll share with you the specifics of my tried and true plan on “How To Get Rid Of The Pacifier With No Drama,” so that you can see what these rituals look like in real life for us.
I honestly believe this post goes right along with my article on training our kids, so if you haven’t read that yet please do.
Also, I’d love to hear from you!
Comment below and let me know what ritual ideas you have or what plans you’ve thought of to help your kids with transitions.
“Rituals can have profound impacts on people’s lives. From moments of tragedy, to transitions in life, to celebrations, rituals can create powerful opportunities for finding deeper meaning in our journey.”
Judges 6:24 “Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and named it The LORD is Peace.”
Judges 21:4 “…the people arose early and built an altar there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.”
1 Samuel 7:17 “…and he built there an altar to the LORD.”
2 Samuel 24:25 “David built there an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. Thus the LORD was moved by prayer…”