Monday, October 21, 2013

Helping a Child or Yourself Through a Transition

Have you ever had to help a child through a transition? It seems like millions of time I've been in a situation where a child in my care has struggled with a transition. The kind that to them seem huge, but to me seems very insignificant. Getting ready to go out the door. Getting in a car to go somewhere. Coming in from the playground. Getting home from school. Getting ready for bed. Even changing from one activity to another-drawing to playdough! Having to stop what you're doing and get cleaned up. whatever it is. Any change in activity can seem overwhelming when a child is not ready. Unless they feel they have control, and can somehow anticipate or be involved in controlling the situation. Interestingly, as adults don't we feel the same way when a transition of one kind or another hits us? We want to feel in control!

"A transition is a change from one thing to the next, either in action or state of being—as in a job transition or as in the much more dramatic example of a caterpillar making a transition into a butterfly."

"Transition is awfully reassuring in its tidy reliance on regular forms. Trans means "cross," so when you hear it at the beginning of a word you know that it indicates crossing, as intransatlantic or translate. An odd thing happening with transition lately is that it is transitioning from its familiar form as a noun to a newer life as a verb, as in “We’re going to transition Gloria to that new job.”
Isn't that funny? The word transition is going through a transition!

There's a sweet song Mr. Rogers used to sing on his show called "I like to be told". I can remember watching it with my own kids! It was all about the need (from a child's point of view) to be told, when something different is going to happen, needing to be told what to expect, needing to be told about something going on in their life. This song always resonated with me! The idea that a child should be included in important decisions, or even just being told ahead of time that a change will be taking place increases a child's need to feel "in control".  

As adults we need the same thing, but as adults we know that it isn't possible to always know what's coming, nor is it possible or even good for us to always feel in control. Maybe it's just about somehow finding the faith that things will be ok, that can give us that sense of feeling in "control" even when we're not. I've heard it said that Faith is not about always having everything work out, but Faith is knowing that you'll be ok no matter how it works out!

I couldn't find that particular song on You Tube, so I offer this sweet Mr. Rogers remix video instead!  Enjoy!

Here's a bit from my ebook Babysitter Blues available on Amazonkindle and soon to be a kickstarter Project! (I'll let you know when!) 

Evan the main character is a fourteen year old taking his three year old twin brothers and five year old sister to a Baha'i children's class for the very first time. He has just announced a "transition"- time to go home and guess what happens!

       Evan’s clan enjoyed every last bite of their apple crisp and ice cream and asked for more. Evan said, “Just a little more, guys, then we have to go home. I got homework to do.”
       While they ate second helpings, a line started to form in the living room for rides on the swing. Casey noticed before his siblings did, and, leaving his second dish of ice cream untouched, he ran over to the line and tried to cut in front of the little girl whose turn was next.
       “He’s cutting!” she complained loudly. “It’s not fair!” Her mother rushed over to her and tried to reason with her, telling her to just let Casey swing first in order to keep the peace. But the girl wouldn’t have it, and as she tried to climb on the swing, Casey grabbed it and knocked her off. By the time Evan reached the swing she had started crying, though she wasn’t really hurt, and anything her mother did to help her only made her cry
louder.       Evan took hold of Casey’s arm, and above the wails of the little girl
called to Dani and Cori, who were still eating, although watching the event curiously. “C’mon, guys, we have to go. NOW!”
       As the girl’s mother tended to her, Evan bodily picked up Casey and went over to the other two to hurry them up. Casey started to cry. “I wanna swing!” he yelled over and over. He struggled to get out of Evan’s arms, kicking him in the process. Evan felt so embarrassed and angry at Casey. He’d gotten through this whole thing without a hitch! Why a meltdown now? He rushed out of the room with Casey still struggling in his arms and the other two siblings close behind.
       Nava ran out the door after them, and called to him. “Don’t you want Casey’s picture?”
       “No, thanks,” he answered over his shoulder.
       Nava said, “I’ll call you later. OK?”

       “OK,” Evan called back, still embarrassed. He put Casey down and,
holding his hand tightly, ushered his gang through the playground and across the street to the safe haven of their own house. 
Evan taking his siblings out of children's class.

A cover for an cd I did years ago.
Reminds me of how I feel when I'm dealing with a transition!

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