It sounds like you are already doing some great thinking around this transition by reducing the amount of time she is in school.
When kiddos have a lot of trouble with transitions, it’s usually because there is some chunk of FEAR stuck in their limbic system. You may be able to point to some difficulties she had early in her life or maybe not. We don’t really have to know. What we do want to do is work on creating more SAFETY and CONNECTION and give your sweet girl a chance to offload some feelings at home, rather than at school.
Here are the steps for helping her with this EMOTIONAL PROJECT:
– Get lots of LISTENING TIME yourself in a Listening Partnership. When our kiddo is having a really tough time, we can feel at the end of our rope. We’ve collected fear and frustration in our own emotional backpack. We want to have more capacity to listen to them, connect with them, be playful and patient with them. We want to be able to be relaxed about the situation. The more relaxed we can be, the more safe they will feel.
– Do more SPECIAL TIME so that there is more connection – more Special Time will help you move through the EP faster and keep your relationship in balance because you are going to be setting limits earlier and more often. Do Special Time in shorter doses and more often. 5-7 minutes of Special Time 2 or 3xs each day will provide more connection and – since the timer is a natural limit.. the timer going off will give her more opportunities to bump up against a transition and have big feelings around how hard it is. A tantrum at the end of Special Time is a good thing!
– Look for more opportunities to SET LITTLE LIMITS. You actually want to welcome big tantrums at home and try not to avoid them by appeasing, negotiating or working around her demands. For example, if you usually help her put on her shoes so you can get out the door, try to leave enough time to hold the expectation that she can put on her shoes. No explanation or reasoning. Just say, ‘sweetie, you can do it. I know you can’. If she lets it rip, that’s a really good thing. Then you STAYLISTEN, knowing that she is offloading the FEAR that is causing her to have such a tough time at school.
– Look for ways to make transitions PLAYFUL. We want to make sure that we are using ALL the tools when working on an emotional project. Going for the giggles when you set a limit or hold an expectation will give you lightness, help you stay connected and give you a break from the tougher staylistening times. LAUGHTER is sooo connecting and it is also offloading lighter fears. Know that you are making progress by playing, too.
– Do lots of Rough ‘N Tumble play where you take the less powerful role. Fear makes us feel really powerless. You taking the less powerful role and letting her win physically will help counter those feelings of powerlessness.
Last 2 points:
– Look for how she is IN-BETWEEN the tantrums. When working on an emotional project, the tantrums may not lessen in size or frequency, but you will see more lightness, flexibility in between the tantrums
– Don’t worry about consistency. For example, if you don’t have the capacity to staylisten during a transition, it’s ok to try to work around the upset. You won’t lose ground. Consistent Connection is what is most important.
Here are 3 more good resources:
I know I’ve given you a lot to look at. Since we need to use ALL the tools when helping our kiddos with an Emotional Project, I wanted to give you a success story for each step. The first and most important is for YOU to get Listening Time. Fire back with more questions, and let us know if you’d like some help with a Listening Partner or any part of this.
Your daughter is so lucky to have an awesome Mama who’s reaching out for her. You rock, good Mama!
Peace & Smiles,
Parenting by Connection Certified Instructor
Conscious Child-raising Creating Cooperation and Peace
Follow me on facebook: Parenting by Connection with Kathy
“If we are to teach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with children” – Gandhi