Wednesday, November 5, 2014

On Transitions With Toddlers, Or: "Can you put the bell in the basket? Good job!"

From my lofty <yeah, right> 30 years of experience as a children's librarian and <eep> nearly 20 as a mom, I am often amused by the ways many young, eager, earnest children's librarians complicate things.

Perhaps elaborate rituals and plans give them confidence. As the Anarchist Librarian, I hope that they will gain enough personal confidence to ignore the nonsensical proclamations of EECR2, of "Mother Goose On the Loose" and on the rest of it, and to learn to trust their own abilities.

Take the question on Storytime Underground's Facebook page about transitions with objects. What this basically means is "It's time to put the bells/shakers/scarves in the basket/box/bag," and there is great concern about child meltdowns and fussing.

First off, let me say that when I am talking about "toddlers" I mean one year olds. Two year olds are NOT toddlers. You can't always reason with a two year old, but the language skills are beginning, and you can have a conversation, and they can follow directions.

One year olds ARE toddlers. And yes, they can get upset when they have to give up the bell, or the shaker, or the whatever. Transitions ARE hard.

But making an elaborate ritual only complicates the matter. It prolongs it.

This morning we used the bells. And then I said "Okay, can you help me put the bells back in the basket so we can play Ring Around the Rosie?"

With the parents help, 22 bells went back into the basket in about 2 minutes flat.
No crying, no fussing, just lots of "Good job, Sophia! Thank you for helping, Michael!"
Etcetera, etcetera.

If anyone had gotten upset, I would have just let that child keep the bell until they were ready to hand it back. No big deal.

When we do the scarves, same thing, only they go in a bag, and the kids not only help put them back, they LOVE putting them back.

In the words of the song from Mary Poppins (though I like the books better):

"In every job that must be done, 
 there is an element of fun,
 You find the fun and SNAP, the job's a game!"

Make putting the toys away as much fun as taking them out.
And if the rituals are only making things harder, chuck em out the window.

Simpler is better. Especially with toddlers!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tell me YOUR story!
(Please note that trolls of the kind who tend to live in apartments rather than under bridges will be mocked mercilessly, especially in terms of grammar and spelling...)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...