We’re beyond honoured to have Chrissie Davies from Chaos To Calm Consultancy writing for us today. She is giving us tips for working with toddlers when they’re going through all those various transitions in their big world…
Tricky toddler transitions – how to master them with confidence
Knowing when and how to move children on to the next phase of their development can be tricky. A big part of our job as parents is recognising when our kids are ready to transition from one thing to another, and teaching them how to master the next step with confidence and ease.
First of all, let’s clarify what is a transition?
Transitions are changes that take place in our life, changes which can occur over a short or long period of time, can be physical, emotional, personal or psychological, and can be predictable or unpredictable. For a growing child their world is constantly filled with ever changing of expectations, rules and environments.
I am a big believer in listening to children. All behaviour in children is a form of communication and often children show us signs of being ready to transition through their actions. However, we also have to be mindful of our expectations being realistic and achievable based on a child’s cognitive ability to understand the skill we are expecting them to be able to master.
Common tricky transitions that many families face are:
Moving from a milk only diet to eating solids, bottles/breastfeeding to cups, cots to beds, removing dummies as emotional comforters, toilet training, learning to dress themselves, and separating from trusted adults when starting childcare or kindergarten.
All of these transitions are huge for children, but with some careful planning and consideration most children can move onto the next phase of their development with ease, and it can be quite a happy process for the whole family.
During a recent private workshop I ran with some toddler mums, a common theme was the ‘fear of the unknown.’ The mums were all scared of moving their child to the next step for fear of the tantrums or challenging behaviour that they were sure would arise. Particularly when removing bottles and dummies.
Knowing a bit about brain development in children, can help us to understand why some kids seem to adapt to changes much more easily than others. So an 18 month old trying to toilet train will have less cognitive understanding of the concept than 3 year old. Both of my children toilet trained themselves in around 3 days because I waited for them to be ready, and I was able to have rational conversations with them about their new skills.
Another example of this is the fact that often families move younger children out of their cots before they are developmentally ready, when they are expecting their second child, or the child learns to climb out. Children go from having slept in a cot for their entire life to being moved into a big bed, and then parents wonder why their child is having so much trouble adapting to the sleeping conditions and new found freedom to move around in a bedroom. Often children are simply not prepared enough for the change, or developmentally ready to understand the concept fully.
Top 5 must do’s for successful transitions for toddlers:
- Give advance warning- talk about the transition casually with your child for a period of two months prior to making any changes. Chat to them. Ask them how they feel about it.
- Talk a lot about what the new expectations will be- the rules change with each transition, and as such your child will have to learn them to be successful. Teach them explicitly what your expectations will be- eg: Call out for me in the morning when you wake up, but do not get out of bed. You don’t play with your toys when you are meant to be sleeping.
- Let your kids practice the new skill if possible- can they pull up their undies on their own? Undies over nappies. Flush the poo down the toilet from their nappy rather than putting it in the bin. Practice climbing in and out of the bed and pulling up the covers.
- Allow children to be involved in the process – look at pictures of children using the toilet, go and visit the bed shop together and look at big beds. Let them help with the drill or screws when putting it together.
- Be consistent – once the decision is made to transition there’s no going back! Don’t give up too soon if they take a little time to adjust!
There’s no doubt about it some transitions can be tricky for toddlers and parents alike. It is perfectly normal for kids to feel a bit uncomfortable whilst we make some changes, and they may cry, but hopefully not for too long.
Growing up is hard and there are lots of rules and new expectations for our little ones to remember. Be mindful that age is just a number. Look and listen for signs that your child is ready to begin transitioning, and try not to compare with what other children are doing.
Our children grow up before our very eyes- don’t rush them into growing up too fast. They do that well enough on their own.
Love Chrissie x x
Chaos To Calm Consultancy
Chaos To Calm Consultancy delivers workshops, private consultations, online resources and personalised consulting to parents and families who want to create emotionally healthy and happy lives! Chrissie takes the vulnerability, shame, guilt and doubt out of parenting. Rather turning it into a most powerful tool which can be used by parents throughout the different behavioural changes for a child.
Chrissie has over 15 years experience working with challenging children and their families. She is passionate about empowering parents to be able to make positive decisions in regards to their emotional health, relationships within the family unit and their child’s behaviour.
Through compassionate support, parents are encouraged and guided to identify, and then embrace the necessary changes needed to create a harmonious household for all members of the family.
Check out the various workshops available here.
Email Chrissie directly email@example.com
Phone : 0432 382 240
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