As a mom of 2 little kids, I am always feeling pressured by: friends, family, society, other blogs… you name it. Seasons change, and our ability to be flexible and transition gracefully becomes evident. I was not always able to handle transition well. Somedays, I still don’t. However transition is a must in our lives at different points in time. To transition gracefully has been a major milestone in my own mental health journey.
The word transition means changing from one state or condition to another. Change is hard for so many people. We get used to things being a certain way. We like that things stay the same and are predictable. Change is hard, however there are some things you can do to help.
- Evaluate Where You Are Now. This is one of those things I sometimes forget. I am so busy with trying to get to where I want to go, I forget to figure out where I am currently. I’m going to use going back to school as an example for this. During the summer, where we are now, there are less rules and more fun. The atmosphere is light, and while we still have rules, they are fewer than during school. We are also having a lot of fun. We sleep in more, there is less structure, and because we all kind of do what we want, there is more cooperation.
- Define Where You Want (Or Need) To Be. This means making a conscious effort to decide what things you want to achieve. It means making a list and then prioritizing the list. For me, I want my kids to learn to love learning. I want them to be excited to go to preschool. I also want to increase my bond with them through teaching them and doing fun activities. These are major points on my list. Some minor points might be some things I’d like them to learn (Colors, shapes, letters, etc) however the main point are the ones I am going to work toward. For me, this means home school preschool has to be: exciting, fun, and we need to work together on projects. I can then fit in the things I want them to learn, in ways they will enjoy.
- Work Out A Plan. This is the one everyone usually starts on. Planning and deciding what is important for the school year (or whatever you are transitioning to). However, if we evaluate first, and then define where we want to be, we might see things a bit differently. For instance, I notice that when there are fewer actual demands, there is more cooperation. Now, I know that life has demands, and we can’t get away from that, so we have to keep some demands in the picture. But, what if just for a while, instead of dumping all the demands back on your kids, you slowly added an extra one or 2, here or there. What if instead of trying to transition in a week or 2 before school started, you only added 1 new demand a week for 4-6 weeks, and then expect that with increased demand, cooperation will be lower until everyone is used to it. I also know what my main objectives are, so sitting and doing book work for an hour for a 4 year old does NOT meet those qualifications. If I was choosing that route, I know I need to find a route that will meet the qualifications and goals I set in step 2. Planning is fun, but if you haven’t done the 1st or 2nd step, you are planning blindly and likely to fail as a result.
- Plan A Test Run. This is so important. So often we just set out to work our plans, and then if they aren’t right, we get discouraged and give up. This is why test runs are so important. By remembering to call this a “test run” you are giving yourself permission to fail. You are acknowledging that this might not be “perfect” and that you are allowed to tweak it so that you can get it right. It also means you are still actively working on it. For us, preschool itself is a test run. I have allowed myself the grace to continuously tweak our format, schedule, and topics to get us to a place where we are meeting our main goals. The important part of a test run is to give it a time frame. So, we are going to test run throughout preschool to learn what works best with each of the kiddos in how they learn and work. Other plans may only need a week or 2 as a Test Run (I’d consider 2 weeks which makes it a habit and help you hold on to the plan longer).
- Allow Yourself Grace And Don’t Give Up. There are a lot of times when “life happens” and your perfect plan may fall to the wayside. It is okay to fall off the plan as long as you don’t STAY off of it. Get back up, keep going, keep trying. Give yourself grace and say it’s okay if I fall off AND I can get right back on. Don’t wait for a “better” time, or the beginning of a day, week, month, or even year. Get right back on by reminding yourself that getting back on right away helps to keep the momentum going. If I have a day in the middle of the week that I am tired and the girls are cranky and I don’t school that day, it’s okay. It is also okay to either have school in the evening, or jump right back to it the next morning.
These steps can be applied to any changes you are wanting to make. A healthier lifestyle, changing jobs, or even moving.
What helps you transition???