As a mother with two small children ages eight and four, as well as a busy lifestyle, I find transitioning time to be the hardest part of our day. It doesn’t matter if it’s bedtime, bath time, dinner time or school, my children won’t transition from one task to the next smoothly.

This, on the other hand, can be very tiring for me, at times it unintentionally causes me to respond to my children in a negative way; especially in the mornings, when I’m in a hurry to get to work.

I’ve had to learn to be creative in transitioning my children, also discovered ways to relief my stress so that it does not affect them. One of the main skills I’ve developed is coping with stressful situations, by doing this it has helped me to loosen up and focus on the needs of my children.

Some of my strategies I use to distress myself while at transitioning are:

  • Weekday mornings before any interaction with my children I listen to my favorite old school gospel, the ones you feel deep down. I dance and sing out loud,  by the time my children are awake, I am in a very good mood.
  • My children, like most, can be very stubborn. When they are being defiant, I take a ‘mental time out’ to think about the situation. I then tell myself, ‘I’m in control’ once am ready I set limits and/or give choices that lead them in the direction I need them to go to.

We sometimes forget that children are people too, and they need a little control over their own lives, choices always work and it is a win, win situation. (Eg. Knowing that my son doesn’t like bath time I usually give him the choice to use our washroom or a choice of a long or short bath) in this case, he gets to choose and he follows through with my request to shower…WIN, WIN

  • My daughter, on the other hand, is a princess in every way possible, as you can imagine creativity is a must! Sometimes the crying can last a long time…a very long time. My mindset must be right before dealing with her, I usually resort to a prayer which helps me calm my nerves and clear my mind before setting limits and sticking to them
  • When it comes to doing homework, I always ensure that I have an activity that they enjoy to do at the end. This helps them focus on their homework because there is something to look forward to.
  • It’s very important to understand that your children will have behaviors because they are trying to discover their limits and themselves, but we as adults have to remain in control and be consistent in our method of parenting and realize that each child’s needs are different.
  • Another effective way that sometimes works with my children is the countdown method, I would explain to them that in a certain amount of time they need to get ready to transition, I check in with them every 5minutes and inform them of how much time they have left before we have to move onto the next task.

Another important thing to remember is that behaviors are learned and how you manage the behavior will let your child know if they can try it again or try something new next time.

It’s also important to remember that any attention is attention, try not to focus on the negative behavior and reinforce the positive behavior instead.

  • Eg: In the morning my children always refuse to go to school and they display a different kind of behaviors, so I choose not to focus on their negative behaviors and praise them for simple things like putting on their coats and getting in the car. My main focus is that they are doing what I asked them to do, even though they are crying or telling me they are not going to school.  In the end, I remain in control without stressing myself out.

It’s very important for me to ensure that the time spent with my children is enjoyable for all of us. Power struggle causes a lot of stress on both the parents and children, in the end, no one wins and your child learns that their behavior stresses the parent enough that they (children) are in control of the adult emotions.

Always praise your children when they transition smoothly or when they follow your direction even when they are being defiant. Positive reinforcement is the best way to get your children to listen to you and help them to develop their self-esteem.

I’m not stating that I no longer struggle with the transition time with my children, but I must admit that once I eliminate the stresses and take control of the situation, I am capable of managing most transitions time like a pro.