You're listening to episode two of our School and Child Care transition series. In this episode, we're going to get down and dirty with these emotions. How to support the tiny humans big emotions. How to validate and acknowledge and hold space for and build coping strategies for them to use, both leading up to and then in the moments of the transition and throughout the day. This is the work. It is messy and gnarly, and you don't have to do it alone. We're here to help you. All right, folks, let's dive in.
Welcome to Voices of Your Village, a place where parents, caregivers, teachers and experts come to support one another on this wild ride of raising tiny humans. We combined decades of experience with the latest research to create the modern parenting village. Let's dive into honest conversation about real parenting challenges, so it doesn't have to be this hard. I'm your host, Alyssa Blask Campbell.
Doing something new is hard. Getting to know new people, especially when you're a tiny human where your needs are dependent on someone else, that to stay alive, you need someone else to provide you food and shelter and take care of your basic needs. And so when you're going to be leaving your attachment caregiver and going to somebody new, it's scary and uncomfortable because you're trying to learn, am I safe here? Will this person keep me safe? Children will have to do this with any attachment caregiver, including you. And it takes time. It takes time to get to know each other and to figure out the rhythms. And in that time, it's often pretty messy. So what do we do with the mess?
First, I want you to know that it's totally normal for it to be messy. In fact, I would expect for it to be messy for like, a week leading up to and then two to four weeks in the transition. So, like, the first two weeks of the transition, and then potentially an additional two. It takes a little bit of time to get to know somebody new, to feel safe with someone new. There are a few ways that we can support them in this. You can let them know that it makes sense to feel what they are feeling and that all of their feelings are welcome. There are two ways to let them know this through your words and through your actions. When they're crying or they're saying, I feel scared, or I don't want to go to school, you can let them know, "Yeah, I get that. Doing something new feels so uncomfortable. I love hanging out with you, and then we're still going to go to school." We can validate those feelings. I know for myself, when I'm in the middle of something new, when I'm starting something new, I want to run from it. I want to just go back to what feels comfortable. I want to shut down. I don't want to go to school. I don't want to go to that new job. I don't want to do that thing that feels uncomfortable. It makes sense to not want to. We can validate that experience and also let them know that they can do hard things. Resiliency is built in the times of struggle, not the times of peace and contentment. They're building resilience. They're learning that they can feel scared, that they can feel nervous, that they can feel disappointed or sad, and that those are feelings that they can build tools for, that they can survive those feelings, that those feelings will not take them down. This is the key to becoming an emotionally intelligent adult is knowing that all of those feelings are safe to feel and building tools for navigating them so when they're feeling sad. We can comfort them and let them know it makes total sense. Validate that feeling and then we can ask them what helps your body feel calm or safe when you're feeling sad. When you're feeling scared. When you're feeling disappointed. And if they don't know yet, we can provide some options.
A couple favorites of mine that are coping mechanisms that are great for transition times are a picture of the family for them to have at school to be able to hold on to at any point. Maybe a comfort item like a lovey or a piece of clothing from home or a blanket or something that would be cozy for them. And then for coping strategies, these are things that will help regulate their nervous system and help them move through these emotions so they can get to a place of processing. Would be moving their body, getting a hug from another caregiver, maybe reading a book, having some downtime for their nervous system to calm. So we're going to practice this with them. We're going to practice in the couple of weeks leading up to school where they have a hard emotion and we don't rush to make it stop. We acknowledge and validate that feeling. "You really didn't want dad to go to work. You were having so much fun playing with him and now it's time for him to go. I get that, babe. It's okay to feel sad." As dad's leaving and the child's crying and then pausing, being there with them, allowing them to feel sad and asking, "Would you like a snuggle? Would you like a picture to hold of dad?" We'll offer two choices and bonus if you make visuals here picture of the family or visual options of like reading a book or moving their body or asking for a hug so that they can just grab the visual rather than having to say any words in that moment. Y'all know how I feel about visuals, here for them. And then once they're calm and it might take a little while, they might need some time to feel. Your job is to regulate your nervous system so that you can allow them time to feel. It's not our job to take away their hard feeling for our comfort. When they're ready, then we can move on to the next step.
"Yeah, sounds like you're ready to go play. Would you like to come build with some blocks with me?" We have a free guide for in the moment how to respond. You can go to emotioncoachingguide.com and it'll guide you right through how to support kids in the moment. It's downloadable PDF. You can find all of our tools and resources on our website seedandsew.org. Click on that parents tab and it will take you right over to free downloads and workshops and things that can guide you in this. Remember, you are not failing if your child is feeling success for me, looks like a child who knows they're safe to feel that they're allowed to have hard feelings and that you can handle them and handle them doesn't mean make them go away. You've got this and we've got you. Buckle up for tomorrow's episode, where we dive into when to talk about it, when to talk about the transition, and how to navigate any anxiety that might arise.
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