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Supporting infants and toddlers with transitions

babyblanketThe following post is from information sent to us by Mary Tabb of the Early Childhood Consultation Partnership, which is a wonderful resource that is available to support the social and emotional development of children in your care and in your early childhood program.

Infants and toddlers gain much of their sense of security from familiar adults, items, and routines. They are especially sensitive to change – even the smallest changes can cause stress. Throughout their childcare day, children this age experience multiple changes: drop-off and pick-up, diapering, transitioning between activities, caregivers changing shifts, etc. While many changes are unavoidable, it is important to consider the impact they may have on very young children and to plan ways that will help them learn to cope.

• Try to plan your day with as few transitions as possible. Limiting the number of transitions reduces stress and allows for more free play and exploration. Individualize transitions as possible, based on the specific needs of the children in your care.

• Prepare and guide children through a transition by telling them what is about to happen and explaining what is happing as it is occurring. This includes diapering, feeding, napping, and with any changes in caregivers.

• Infants and toddlers are learning to soothe themselves. Allow access to blankets, stuffed animals from home, family photos or pacifiers during transition times to help them learn this important skill.

• Because toddlers do not understand the reason for changing activities, they often become resistant. The best approach is to give one direction at a time, expect them to only pick up one or two items at clean-up, and use encouragement, redirection and modeling to teach them the skills you would like them to learn.

• Provide extra physical closeness, hugs and holding to help comfort children during times of change.

If you found this helpful, you may also like an earlier post sent to us from ECCP on creating a quiet space for infants and toddlers.

Top photo creditphotostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

• Transition Magician 2 by Mary Henthorne, Nola Larson & Ruth Chvojicek, (2000)
• Routines and Transitions A Guide for Early Childhood Professionals by Nicole Malenfant (2006)
• Momma Always Comes Home, by Karma Wilson
• The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn

Brought to you by:
Early Childhood Consultation Partnership©
A program of Advanced Behavioral Health www.abhct.com
Funded by CT Department of Children & Families


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