Do your kids have meltdowns when they have to leave something fun? Here is why kids resist transitions and how to stick to your boundaries without yelling:
Transitions are a part of daily life as a mom.
For most, they are dreaded and viewed as the most annoying part of the day. Here are some simple tips and some ways to minimize stress that comes with transitions in our daily lives.
Transitions: The general feeling that we have when are kids are going to go from one thing to another. It can be a struggle to stop doing one thing and go to something else.
This feeling probably comes from the fact that they don’t want to stop doing something they like and go do something they like a little less.
They like to go from things they don’t enjoy into things that are fun.
Kids (toddlers through elementary school) will learn everything from life management, social, survival, and hygiene skills PLUS MORE!
Now of course there are some personalities or exceptionalities that cause kids to struggle with transitions a bit more. But still, nobody likes to put down something fun in order to go clean their room.
The main issue we’re having here is that were all getting worked up because these transitions are not enjoyable. We don’t like stopping things that are fun.
Mentally Prepare Yourself
We loose our cool so much more when we don’t go into it with the right mind.
Especially if your in pubic, this can be a struggle.
For example, if you’re out having a good time and you’re about to tell the kids it’s time to go.
- First of all, get your heart to beat at a normal rate.
- Try to release the stress energy that you’re having from anticipating the resistance.
- Pep talk yourself a bit- you’re the boss, you’re the mom. They may resist, but your word stands.
Give a Stern Warning
Give a warning as to what is going to happen, but don’t repeat too many times.
- Give the warning,
- ask for an acknowledgment, and then
- stick to your word.
If you repeat/repeat/repeat instead of being more firm and consistent- kids will tune you out.
Allow them enough time to start to wind down mentally (depending how big the deal it), but stick with your word.
Here is where your boundaries come in. If they beg for more and more time, and you give in- you have stretched a boundary.
Pull out these fun connecting questions to share some laughs with your precious ones!
Use them at:
- meal times
- car rides
- as a “calm down” trick
- for dinner time conversation
- or any time the day is getting chaotic or
- you need a reset to connect.
Then you start to second guess yourself. Doubts flood in.
You start to think that…
- maybe you didn’t give them enough of a warning,
- it’s unfair for you to take them away from something fun, or
- did they not really hear the 5 minute waring.
No, no… when we’re not confident we open ourself up to all kinds of manipulations. We loose our confidence and this makes us insecure and opens us up to be tossed “to and fro” by however they react.
So what is actually happening when you give into their “5 more minute” demands is you begin to resent this. These resentful feelings can lead to frustrations.
If you made a reasonable request for a transition (leaving in 5 minutes) and then you stretch that boundary, it’s going to make you late to dinner, unable to get things done that you need that day, etc.
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Stretching boundaries makes transitions harder.
When you stretch a boundary kids…
- learn that you don’t mean what you say, and
- they learn that if they “wood pecker” us to death that we will give in.
So whether you’re trying to leave the park to go home to bed, or your’e cooking dinner and they are begging for food. Stick to your word and be confident.
Don’t be here and there, everywhere in your word and don’t use their emotions as a barometer to determine their happiness.
If they are at the fridge begging for a snack right before dinner and you give in, this causes resentment because you’re working hard to make dinner.
Instead, give a time frame and stick to it. Just say the rule and let it be. The kids may be frustrated but learning how to deal with frustrations is a huge life skill. If they don’t learn how to wait and deal with frustrations now they will struggle as adults.
Have Built in Consequences to Make Transitions Easier
You can make these when they aren’t even playing, but stick to them and they will expect the consequence. Built in consequence and rules helps transitions because they help kids to access their motivation.
For example, if you’re turning off the TV or putting away the game and they throw down or run from you- it’s good to have some rules to deal with this.
- So if you know that you had 30 minutes to play and I gave you a 5 minute warning, put it away or you don’t get to use it the next day (or for a whole week.)
Make the rule, teach it to them, and stick with it.
Some people are against rules because they are unfair…etc. But let’s think about this. Rules keep us safe, even as adults. Take owning a house for example. We have a monthly house payment so we can’t decide that we just don’t feel like paying it one month.
Why? Because we don’t want to loose the house.
Rules keep us making good decisions.
Start brainstorming rules to make your family life more peaceful, connected, and strong!
For kids, giving limits and rules helps them make those good decisions that they really want to make.
Think of all the rules and limits we have in nature. We want our children to be balanced and make good decisions. But, what happens when we give into their flailing, crying, emotional demands is we teach them that…
- we will give in if they push us enough,
- meltdowns work to get what they want,
- and transitions will be much harder.
But, if you can’t leave the park when I say then we’re not going tomorrow.
If I’ve given you a time warning, and I can’t turn the TV off without you yelling then you don’t get to watch it tomorrow.
Ready to try and deal with this temper of yours? Let this checklist help you get a handle on it.
Give a Proper Order
Order things so that kids are happy to transition from things they don’t like into the fun things.
A proper order really helps kids be able to transition throughout the day.
- For example, you don’t want to have super fun outdoor time and then go in to do chores. Instead “you get to outside to play after your chores are done.”
- If you want them to tidy their rooms, have them do this before they get screen time.
- If you have a playdate schedule, tell them they get to go play after their chores are done.
Order things in a way that actually makes good sense. This way, they are happy to transition from one thing to the thing that they want to.
The proper order of things is so important when it comes to making transitions easier and less stressful on mom.