Living Arts Weekly: Transitions

March 31, 2019

Transitions are almost always signs of growth, but they can bring feelings of loss. To get somewhere new, we may have to leave somewhere else behind.  — Fred Rogers

I was elated to see the first crocuses peeking out in my yard this week!  The transition from winter to spring brings joy to most of us.  And yet, anyone who has lived or worked with young children knows that transitions can be challenging as well.  I remember well the crying and fussing my children would do about their outdoor clothing when the “between seasons” weather was upon us.  They would just get used to one coat or hat, and then I’d change it up on them; the toddler crying for her favorite hat even when it was no longer appropriate for the weather.  I was visiting one of our amazing representative programs, Rose Rock School in Norman, Oklahoma, this past week.  The weather was beautiful — in the upper 60’s — and there was a little toddler running around in a big, puffy down jacket. He must have been dripping with sweat under that coat, but I didn’t need to ask why he was wearing it.  Toddlers and transitions do not always go peacefully hand in hand!

Soon enough, warmer weather will be here to stay. Until then, we’ve got some great resources for you this week to help you embrace the transition.

Mary O’Connell, Your Living Arts Weekly blog editor

Practical Activity

The Magic of Transition Songs

Have you ever tried to leave the house (or worse, the park!) and watched the children melt down into a full-blown tantrum even though you warned them nicely multiple times that it was time to go?  You are not alone!

Oftentimes, our words go right over the children’s heads, and they protest loudly at each transition point during the day.  Enter the magic of a transition song!  Read on for a great article about using transition songs from our friends over at The Wonder of Childhood.

Nurturing Care

Nurture Yourself and Your Family by Inspiring your Home Life

Join Rahima Baldwin Dancy for an online course to examine your family life and begin to consciously create the kind of home life your heart desires, one which is supportive to every member of the family, including yourself!

There is still time to register!  The course begins on Wednesday, April 3rd. Click here for more details!

Creative Exploration

The Spring Adventure of Fluffy Tail the Rabbit

from Suzanne Down at Juniper Tree Puppets

The old hollow tree had fallen to the ground a long time ago, and soft, soft moss had covered it up so well you could hardly see the little doorway that led inside.

One day, Fluffy Tail the Rabbit was hopping along that very same old hollow tree looking for good things to  eat, when he nearly fell right through the small round doorway.

‘Oh my’, he called out, ‘I wonder who lives here?’

He peered inside the dark hallway. He did not see a thing. ‘Is anyone at home,’ he called into the hallway.

Up in the tall oak tree nearby, Robin was watching Fluffy Tail. She sang out…

‘Welcome spring today ho hey,

I’m glad you’ve come along this way,

Your help is needed, follow me,

Into the hollow tree and see’

Robin flew down and perched on the hollow tree. ‘Fluffy Tail, don’t be afraid, come with me, your help is greatly needed!

Fluffy Tail looked in the long dark hallway, he twitched his nose and thought…

‘I will be brave,

I will be strong,

I’ll follow true to Robin’s song.’

So in flew Robin, Fluffy Tail close behind, down, down the old hollow tree. Down, down the great big roots into the earth. Down, down the sweet smelling early spring soil, until, there, in the distance Fluffy Tail could see the golden glow of a lantern.

Right away he felt better, and as they got closer the narrow pathway opened up into a great room full of ladybugs and beetles of all colors and sizes. In the corner by the lantern was a round woman dressed in browns and greens with the kindest face Fluffy Tail had ever seen.

‘Thank you Robin, for bringing a fine helper,’ the woman said, ‘and welcome to you Fluffy Tail!’

All at once Fluffy Tail knew who she was. She was the great and wonderful Mother Earth. He bowed to her with gratitude.

‘Fluffy Tail, she said, ‘as you can see I am preparing everyone for Spring. But I have so many beetles and ladybugs to clean, I will never be ready on time. With your fine fluffy tail, you could help me! Will you do that?’

Fluffy Tail went to work at once, he washed and polished blue beetles, green beetles, red and black ladybugs, even yellow ladybugs with his soft and very fluffy tail. The bugs gleamed and glistened! You  could see your face in them, they were so shiny! Fluffy Tail was tired, but it felt so good to be helpful.

Before long, all of them were clean and shining bright, ready for Spring! Dear Mother Earth asked Fluffy Tail to lead the procession through the hollow tree and out into the meadowland. The tiniest red ladybug asked Fluffy Tail if he could ride on his back. Fluffy Tail blushed a sweet pink of happiness, and said, ‘of course little ladybug’.

One by one they marched up the long hallway, through the sweet earth, marching over the roots and along the inside of the hollow tree.  One by one they proudly marched out the little hidden doorway into Spring.

Fluffy Tail led them all, hippity hop, thumpity thump, wiggling his tail all the way. Once they reached the spring meadow, the little ladybug flew up and all around singing, ‘hurray for Spring!’ How happy they all were.

[Visit Suzanne’s website, Juniper Tree Puppets, for lots of spring stories and resources!  She also has wonderful summer courses coming up online and in person.]

Social Awareness

Supporting Children Through Big Transitions

Big transitions, such as going off to a new school or moving to a new house, can be scary for a young child.  Here is a short but helpful article by Sandra Schmidt, one of the primary caregivers at LifeWays Early Childhood Center in Milwaukee, WI about how she helped the children in her childcare suite prepare to move to a new room.

Are you making a major move soon? Here are ways to ease the transition for young children:

  • Keep explanations clear and simple.
  • Use a story to explain the move.
  • When you pack your toddler’s toys in boxes, make sure to explain that you aren’t throwing them away.
  • If your new home is nearby and vacant, go there to visit before the move and take a few toys over each time.
  • Hold off on getting rid of your child’s old bedroom furniture, which may provide a sense of comfort in the new house. It might even be a good idea to arrange furniture in a similar way in the new bedroom.
  • Avoid making other big changes during the move, like toilet training or advancing a toddler to a bed from a crib.