Tough Transitions

I’ve often heard parents talk about difficulties their kids have with transitions. Sometimes it’s a change in routine, a change in wardrobe or a change in living situations. I’ve never had big issues with my kids and transitions. Even my child with autism didn’t struggle too much in this department.

I used to think parents dealing with normal transitional stuff were exaggerating the difficulty of it. Until now. My youngest is one of these tough “transitioners.”

It’s not so much a change in routine that gets to him- it seems to be mostly about clothing. This makes seasonal changes quite dramatic. Now that spring is upon us, you would think he’d happily put away his bulky snow pants. No such luck. My little guy runs around outside all day on Sunday in shorts and a t-shirt. Come Monday morning, he’s searching for his snow pants. Then there is his favourite winter hat. He would rather have his ears amputated due to frost bite than wear a different hat. This made for some tricky situations if that special hat got misplaced on very cold days.

The funniest quirk has to do with his school uniform. He loves his school uniform and happily wears it every day. However, if they have a special day when they can wear regular clothes, he refuses to participate. On Valentine’s Day, there was a school wide competition to see which class wore the most red clothing. This is how the day played out:

- He refused to wear red and went to school in his uniform;
- He came home and reported that he was the only child not wearing red;
- He was furious that his class didn’t win the contest for wearing the most red.

Yes, he was the reason his class didn’t win, and yet it angered him.

This weekend, my little tough transitioner turned five. He happily accepted a party and presents, but was not happy about giving up the age of four. My little man appeared to have an acute case of “Peter Pan Syndrome”. When people ask him his age, his response is “still four” and we were only allowed to put four candles on his birthday cake. I figure by the time he gets used to being five- years -old, he’ll be six.

Have you had a child who had difficulty with transitions? What ways have you found to help your child deal with change? Was it something that was outgrown?

Screen Free Week – May 5-11

When I mentioned Screen-Free Week to my 12 year-old son, his response was “Are you kidding me? That’s like Earth Hour BUT FOR A WHOLE WEEK!” The hardest part of Earth Hour for him isn’t turning out the lights (Flashlights and candles? Awesome!) It’s about no Netflix or X-Box. Playing board games by candlelight is fun, but about the 45-minute mark everyone, including us grown-ups, is sneaking a peek at the clock (see My Plugged-In Family).

In our house, we’re going to try and modify Screen-Free Week and make it Screen-REDUCTION Week.

Here’s the plan:

1) Estimate CURRENT Screen Time. Check in with family members in advance, and ask everyone to ballpark how much time they spend on screens daily.

2) Monitor Screen Time BEFORE Screen-Free Week. Ask everyone to keep track of their screen time for a few days to see how realistic their estimate was. Make it like The Price Is Right and have a small prize for whoever makes the most accurate guess. Even if it’s an astonishing amount of time, at least they’re aware! Baby steps.

3) “But I’ll have nothing to do!” Brainstorm some ideas of things to do together as a family instead of all being on separate screens, as well as some individual activities. Board games? Bike ride? Family hike? Curling up with a book? Cleaning their room? Yeah, sneak that one in; it’s worth a shot.

4) Get commitments. Ask everyone to pick a goal, either time-based or otherwise, and WRITE IT DOWN. Our son has already committed to live without his X-box for the entire week. Have some kind of incentive for whoever achieves their goal. I’m totally motivated by rewards; my prize could be relaxing and reading magazines for a whole hour! Have the kids figure out what their reward will be, encouraging them to think of ones that cost very little, if anything.

5) Have Fun! This doesn’t have to be a torturous week. Have your list of alternative activities handy. Make some Screen-Free signs with the kids and post them as little reminders (reduces the nag factor).

6) Follow-Up. After the week, sit down with everyone and find out how it went. Was it difficult? Easier than you thought? What were the positive things that happened? Will it change your behaviour moving forward?

Will you be participating in Screen-Free Week? Any ideas to share? Come back and leave a comment and let us know how it went!

 

About the Author:

Karen Pearson is one of the friendly voices you’ll hear on the other end of the phone when calling Customer Service at Mabel’s Labels. She enjoys writing about her family, which includes a husband, 3 kids and a rescue dog from Greece.

A Camp Counselor’s Perspective: get their gear home!

Summer is soon approaching and if you’re like me, you remember your days at summer camp. There’s something so nostalgic about seeing a canoe paddle and hearing campfire songs like “Great Big Moose.” However, for me, summer camp didn’t end when I was a kid; I loved it so much that I worked as a camp counselor for 4 years and even did a year-long stint as an outdoor experiential educator, otherwise known as a professional camp counselor. I’ve seen my fair share of kids come through the doors with great gear and, sadly, leave without it.

 


These days it’s pretty normal for kids to head to camp for weeks at a time. And that usually that means a lot of gear is needed for the trip up north – not an inexpensive thing. Living in such close quarters with each other proves to be a great lesson in keeping your things organized. Learning how to fold clothes properly is fun, but what happens when none of the kids can remember if that is their shirt or not? From my experience, the lost and found box is usually full after day 3. One thing I learned at camp was to LABEL EVERYTHING!

Packing is tough – you have to plan for all types of weather and make sure there’s enough clothing to last the entire time at camp. And parents tend to shop at the same stores for their kid’s camp gear, especially for towels and clothing. The best thing to do to ensure your kids are coming home with everything they went to camp with is to make sure the kids know which items are their own.


Kid’s clothing, water bottles, towels, toiletries, and shoes will be put to the test. They’ll get wet, they’ll get dirty, and some camps even offer laundry services. Simply writing their name on the tags, from my experience, isn’t enough. Many permanent markets don’t hold up to the abuse that the gear will go through.

Take it from me: kids bring a lot of stuff to camp, the costs add up. Instead of replacing items, use a label and they’ll come home!

Pick up everything you’ll need in the Limited Edition Camp Combo pack here. If you can get your hands on it before April 30, you’ll get the early bird pricing and save some money!

Happy camping!

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