Early Childhood Transitions – An Overview
Transition means to change, and there are a lot of changes that happen in a child’s life. From everyday transitions like going to bed at the end of the day to more disruptive transitions like welcoming home a new sibling or starting school, young children are constantly faced with change – and they have big feelings about it.
Children experience a lot of feelings as they anticipate and react to change. Every child experiences change differently, and they show this in their individual behaviors. While one child may transition smoothly in a particular situation, another may need more time to get used to it. And that’s OK!
Adults play an important role in supporting young children through transition. Here are four ways to support positive transitions at home, in child care, at school, and in everyday life that will help your child feel secure and comfortable as they move through change.
Showing children that there are similarities between new experiences and how things used to be, or similarities between what happens at home and within a new setting, will help them feel more comfortable.
Whenever possible, talk with children about changes that are coming up, and let them know what to expect. Keep talking while transitions are happening, too, and encourage your kids to tell you how they’re feeling.
Give Them Some Control
It’s important for children to feel a sense of control and a sense of belonging in a new situation. What decisions can you let them make during a new transition? How can you include them in a new process or activity?
Keep a Positive Attitude
Your attitude and the way you react as your children experience change are more important than you may know. Your children look to you for guidance. Do your best to stay positive and encouraging, even when it’s hard!