A Trick to Help with Difficult Transitions

We’ve all been there. He’s busy playing and doesn’t want to stop for a new diaper (or to go potty). She doesn’t want to get dressed to run errands.


Especially with strong-willed children, we  can sometimes see a battle or refusal coming, and for the sake of all involved, it would be nice to have some magic words (other than a bribe) that get the kids moving and on their way.

You want to know what those secret words are, at least some of the time?

Here you go. Problem solved. 

“What do you want to do after we ___________”? 

It seems so simple. Here’s why it works.

  1. It gives kids control. They may not have control over going to the store, but they can maintain that sense of independence. 
  2. It takes the focus away from the current interruption and lets them focus on something they want to do.
  3. It activates the logical part of the brain, helping them control their emotions.
  4. It reminds them that this transition or change isn’t permanent. 
  5. It reinforces that whatever needs to be done is not optional, but does leave other choices open. 

So … the next time you sense the fight coming, give this a try, and let me know how it works!


Note: this works best after about 3 years of age and not so well when the activity itself is dreaded.


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