Parenting in Focus: Transitions aren’t easy for children

There are many times each day that we expect our children to stop what they are doing or change to what we want them to do. Those times can be difficult times, especially with young children.

There are some ways you can help. Begin by anticipating the transition you are going to make.

Give him a warning. Tell him that in two minutes it will be time to go. Give him some time to adjust to the change that is about to happen.

Let him know what’s going to happen ahead of time. Let him have time to imagine riding in the cart at the store and the special treat you say you will buy. This helps him adjust to the change.

Before you make the transition, tell him what will happen after the transition. Let him know that when you come home, he can pick out the book for you both to read together or he can ride his tricycle.

Offer him a role in the transition he is about to make. Ask him if he can carry the umbrella or open the door for you.

Use some object to help him adjust to the new activities. Ask him if he would like to take the chocolate chips home from the store to put in the cookies you will make later today.

Include a good-bye as part of the transition you are making with him. Sometimes saying good-bye to an activity or a park or a tree can help you wait until you come back.

Remember, change is difficult. When you are succeeding in doing something, it isn’t easy to stop.

Learning to handle change is an important task. School is filled with these kinds of transitions and little warning. Help your child be ready to experience these changes that will soon be occurring as school begins.

Believe it or not …

An excellent predictor of later academic success is whether or not parents and children have interesting conversations together at the dinner table.

So what did you have for dinner last night?

Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and former executive director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which published newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents.