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Tired of Everything Being An Ordeal With Your Child? Try this transition strategy.

Recently an exasperated mom said to me, “Why does everything have to be such an ordeal!?” She was referring to everything from trying to leave the house in the morning to getting ready for bed at night. I feel her! How about you?

Often what the ordeals have in common is that they happen during transitions.

I believe the ability to facilitate transitions is one of your biggest parenting superpowers for responding rather than reacting to your kid's behavior!

Transitions require changing from one state of being or activity to another. It takes several steps to go through that change. According to brain science, that makes transitions inherently stressful. The more stress-sensitive your child is, the more anxious they’ll be around everyday transitions like the following:

  • Getting ready to leave the house for school in the morning

  • Coming home after school

  • Ending screen time

  • Starting homework

  • Getting ready for bed - brushing teeth, etc.

…and the more they’ll act out to communicate that stress - leading to another ordeal!

Here’s today’s Quick Tip for smoother transitions,

“Remember the 3 C’s - Curiosity, Connection & Control”

  1. Curiosity: When you get that “here we go again feeling,” pause and get curious. Ask yourself, “Is this a transition?” If whatever you’re asking of your kiddo requires them to stop doing one thing and requires them to do something else, it’s a transition! It helps to remember that Behavior is an SOS, Not an Attack.

  2. Connection: Understanding that your child is stressed, anxious or overwhelmed and NOT just being difficult on purpose, allows you to take their behavior less personally. Plan ahead for the next transition by asking yourself, “How can I connect with my child during this transition rather than brace myself for an ordeal?” It helps to remember that Connection Matters More Than Perfection.

  3. Control - as in Agency: When you think about how little control children have over, almost everything that happens in their lives, you can imagine how giving them some agency in concrete ways would feel settling in the midst of transitions. Behavior can be a way to try to be in control. Giving your child some control or agency over what’s happening to them will decrease their anxiety and thus, diminish difficult behavior. Practically, this might look like the following:

  • Have your child set a timer or visual timer with their own hands.

  • Give your child a choice of two acceptable options.

  • For more possibilities, ask yourself, “What is it OK to give my child control over in this situation?”

It helps to remember that Your Child Wants To Please You.

By keeping in mind the three C’s of Curiosity, Connection & Control (or Agency) you will be leveling up your parenting skills to better respond to your child with what they need during transitions, without everything turning into an ordeal!

(Click the image below to see the 7 Principles of Parent-Centric Parenting)

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