Toddlers and Transitions are words that do NOT flow together. Any parent or teacher can tell you that. But learning how to move from one thing to the next without throwing a tantrum is a life skill all of us (from tots on up) need to learn! Here are our top tips for helping your toddler learn to transition!
1. Recognize and acknowledge their feelings. “I can see you’re sad because you don’t want Mommy to leave.” Just hearing their inner feelings said aloud is sometimes enough to calm a child down. Many times most of their frustration is caused by feeling unheard or misunderstood.
2. Get down to their eye level and speak calmly. Okay, we admit this is easier said than done with a screaming kiddo. But they will feed off of your energy. Try your best to keep perspective, even when they still have none, and you’ll be leading the way to a more communicative future together.
3. Give your little one a warning. Imagine you were at a party having a grand old time when someone unexpectedly told you, “Time to put your shoes on and go!” Anyone would have a hard time with that. We all need a warning to know what is coming next.
4. Offer two choices. “Would you like to hop or get a piggy back ride to the car?” Two choices offer toddlers independence while still giving you the desired outcome you need to keep your day moving forward.
5. Create some transition rituals. The best teachers do this beautifully! Singing a favorite Clean Up Song helps saying goodbye to the toy trains a little bit easier. Picking a flower on the way home from the park makes leaving a little less terrible. When kiddos know what to expect, they can relax into the next activity, and so can you!