Toddlers are notorious for not wanting to change activities. Once they get involved in something super fun, (which can be almost anything when you're two,) there is no transitioning into the next, less fun part of the day. For example, "Swimming is over, time for bath!" Yeah, right.
Or, "Time to come inside and get ready for bed!" Haha. Keep dreaming, mom.
Or, my son's absolute favorite, "Time to get off the swings and give someone else a turn." Never going to happen.
This is the time of the tantrum. Your child doesn't want to leave the fun he's having to clean up, take a bath, eat, or get ready for bed. So, they say no, and when you stand your ground, they may throw themselves on the floor, scream, or even throw things in frustration.
To avoid these tantrum inducing moments, I've come up with a few quick tricks that work with my child.
Trick Number One: "One More Time." You have no idea the magic of these words. Seriously. Because my two year old doesn't yet understand time, saying things like "five more minutes" doesn't work, because he has no idea how long five minutes actually is. But "one more...;" he gets that. One more cookie, one more story, one more jump in the pool. And then, I always ask him to verbalize what's next. This is also a huge help. I say, "One more, and then time to go inside and have lunch." And then I say, "What will we do after one more kick with the soccer ball?" And he replies, "Have lunch." It works 95% of the time. When it doesn't, I just remind him what we just talked about, and usually, that's enough to get him to transition well.
Trick Number Two: Make the next activity entertaining. Toddlers will do anything if they think it's fun. So, when it's time to come inside and take a bath, we talk about the fun of the bath as we're walking upstairs. You know, "let's go swimming in the bathtub! Are you going to do kicks? How about bubbles?" He starts to answer the questions and doesn't realize we're moving onto the next part of our day. Of course, as he gets older, this is a harder and harder trick to accomplish, because he knows that bath leads to stories which lead to bedtime. So...we have to make each part fun and special, so that there's a few minutes of silliness built into each activity.
How do you handle transitions with your toddler? How do manage to keep the meltdowns to a minimum?
Sarahlynne loves writing for Shine as a Parenting Guru. She also writes for merelymothers, a website that analyzes and discusses controversial parenting issues.