pumpkin-eyes-1

In her article “Helping Young Children through Daily Transitions,” Tara Katz offers a number of ideas for transitions in the preschool classroom including this one:

“Children expect us to tell them what comes next and what we expect of them. The difference between, “You may set the table for me” and “Can you set the table?” is day and night. As adults we sometimes think we nurture children to be strong independent thinkers when we ask them if they want to wear their coats or what they want for dinner. Such questions are only appropriate when the choice is real. What children need is for the adults in their lives to let them know what is expected of them in a consistent, loving, manner. Daily rhythms and routines and clear language will help them achieve that goal. In a society that values individuality, the idea of guiding children in an authoritative manner, instead of as their friend, can feel uncomfortable.” From www.childcareexchange.com

This is a challenge for all parents, we want to be liked and we don’t want to be the bad guy and we have lots of feelings about meeting our children emotional needs. I like the idea that “such questions are only appropriate when the choice is real”. If it is time to go home, then you get to hold your child’s hand and happily lead them home with love. If they need to get dressed in the morning, they have two choices: wear their pajamas to school and carry their clothes in a bag or get dressed to go to school. The goal is to figure out what is worth the battle and what is not. When you lead consistently with love and confidence (even if you don’t feel confident) your child will respond. “Children expect us to tell them what comes next and what we expect from them.”