Monday, July 12, 2010

Smoothing Out Your Day: Effective Transitions

Reprinted from Nannies from the Heartland Fall 2007 Newsletter

Transition: “Passing from one condition or place to another.” A day with a child is full of transitions. How are you handling them? Some are manageable, even positive, while others create “bumps” in our day or week. Here are a few helpful hints that can make those transitions work for you not against you.

  • Observation: Taking the time to evaluate what is working and identifying what isn’t is the first step in making changes. Although, each day is unique there are patterns that you’ll be able to identify.
  • Prepare: Anticipate transition challenges based on your observations, patterns and the activities of the day.
  • Plan: Once you’ve identified your transition challenges it’s time to make a plan. Using some basic techniques can help you avoid the transition blues. It won’t eliminate every challenge but it will make for an easier time for you and the children.
  • Evaluate: Take a moment to evaluate your plan. Note the successes and failures. Specify what went wrong and what went right so that you can adjust your plan in the future.

  • “It’s a Game!” Using game play can smooth out a variety of transition speed bumps.
    • Races – “How fast can we pick up these toys before we go outdoors?” 
    • I Spy – Playing this timeless favorite can make car trips, walks or waiting in the checkout line more enjoyable
    • Going on a Bear Hunt – Do you remember this classic? Hunting for the child’s favorite bedtime or tub-time toy can make routine transitions smoother. Hide the toy near your destination.
  • “Sing Along, Everyone!” Music and young children go hand-in-hand. Make the most of this by using favorite songs to pass the time or create memorable moments. Create your own compositions that meet your needs. Silly songs make for happy children, and adults. Use CDs to calm car trips or create quiet times – great when transitioning from active play to quiet activities or naptime.
  • “Give Notice!” Some children require plenty of notice when plans are moving from one activity to another. Share plans ahead of time with the children so they feel they are part of the plan. Careful observation of the child will let you know which children need a “notice” and how long before changes they need to be notified.
Smoothing out the “bumps” in the day can be a day brighter when transitions become your friend. ALL your time with children can be enjoyed!

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