Saturday, 25 February 2012


If there is one thing that's doing my head in at least once a day, mostly significantly more than that, it's trying to get pre-schooler leave xyz (insert house, nursery, shop, car etc).

It's getting ridiculous and it doesn't help that toddler is ever so keen on leaving and whinging to get us out of the door. To her, what lies ahead is fun, to the older child, she does not want to stop having fun where she is right now.

We've gone from refusal, hiding and running away to open aggression. It's a constant grind, because nothing stresses me out more than trying to get us out of the house in the morning and make that nursery drop off trip that has no minute to spare for me to get a full working day wedged into the childcare hours available.

So I've been looking for ideas and possible solutions. My facebook friends were kind enough to suggest things that work for them, or if not that, share their own failure to tackle this old enemy that often goes under the name of transition. Because it is about transition - 4 year old is as reluctant to leave for nursery as she is to leave nursery for home. It's the change that's the issue, not the destination.

Starting earlier was a common thread. I won't dismiss it, but I know that even if I start earlier, when it comes to getting through the door, it's the same difficult situation. We still struggle to get dressed, to put shoes and jacket on.

Being organised and ready to go - well, that does help but there's a limit to it as I don't like to prepare the packed lunch the night before and my kids waken as soon as I stir so I can't get dressed before they get up. I am reasonably organised and we don't stall much, so this is not really the issue in our case.

What I can see if I step back is that our little problem has become filled with a struggle for control and power. The aggression is probably due to a vicious circle where my own annoyance creates tension, and that tension exasperates the problem, leading to aggression as the only way for Cubling to object. I know the theory of remaining positive, and yes I do follow the advice of getting attention first, being on same level as child, having clear instructions and being firm. It's not working. And when she runs off to evade the "shoes on, jacket on, let's go", she is now faster than I am with toddler on my arm. I have been seen to wrestle her down to put shoes and jacket on because I was just sick and tired of the same old game at every transition moment of the day.

Enters the suggestion of singing a song. I instantly liked this though haven't tried it out yet for want of knowing a suitable song. Apparently, there even is something called a "transition" song. I like the blog post on how this works. The nice thing is that it does create a positive, feel good situation which is likely to break that vicious circle of negativity that we have ground ourselves. I'm keen to give it a go, though it may be tricky as she also generally objects to me singing (I don't blame her), but it's definitely worth a go.

What are your tricks of the trade to get out of the house/nursery/play park without tears and negativity?


aendr said...

Instead of "put your shoes on", "which shoe shall we put on first?"

Is there competition between the two? "Who can find their shoes first?"

Pretend to dress wrongly (shoes on hands) so you get corrected.

Put all the components of the lunch together in the boxes in the fridge apart from the bits you don't like to do in advance.

Have all the things you need to get them ready together and prepared and unhideable.

Take it in turns to get dressed - all PJ tops off, nappies and knickers, vests and bra, socks and tights... you get the picture. If you are willing, they can choose for you (I sometimes restrict that to undergarments.)

Make up rhymes if they dislike your singing.

Toreador them into their coats.

Change the persuading activities so they are new and fun.

Try a star chart, I can't remember if she likes dolls, but if she does, try getting the reward in advance - doll and all the getting ready clothes and items (as many as possible). Gain one for each day it meets your criteria - doll is out of reach but in sight except for the ritual adding of the item in the evening until doll is fully ready to go out. Your smaller one may well need a similar item to work on something.

Caroline Rose said...

The song sounds like a great idea, or just something to make it fun! It sounds like she's trying to make it a game at the moment, so maybe make it into a game, but just of your choosing! Or maybe a sticker chart (ah yes just seen someone else has suggested that), with a star for every day she gets ready and leaves the house like a good girl, you could even time her and see if she can beat her personal best!

Short of that....bribery?!

Maggie said...

I have exactly this problem, I usually make up consequences, "if you don't go to bed now there's no time for a story", if you don't brush your teeth there's no time before breakfast before nursery." Doesn't always work, and she's starting to get smart to it

cartside said...

Thanks for these amazing tips! We've tried some of them but plenty more in there to try out, and it sounds like fun even!

Carole said...

Good blog. You might enjoy this little poem about mothers.



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