Thursday, February 20, 2014

Transition Times

On Monday, I sent you all over to a neighboring blog to read what I found to be a very inspirational piece on transitions for young children, particularly the young homeschooled child. Today, I want to share some of the transitions that have worked in our home. 

I'm sure it goes without saying, but I want to emphasize that these are things that have worked for our family, the particular make-up and co-mingling of personalities and souls that inhabit our home. What works in our household may be wildly different than what works in yours. 

Why do I offer these examples, then? 

My hope is that they may serve as inspiration for you to evaluate your own family, your own home, and what might work best for your circumstances and the people who live them with you.

Transition Times

  • Mama enters with candle, sing “Good Morning”
  • Morning prayer with each young child
  • Open curtains, turn on light, and blow out candle

  • Majority of preparation done before children wake (this is how I round off my morning "quiet time")
  • Set table
  • Pour drinks
  • Breakfast
  • Clear dishes, return to table
  • Gospel reading (we do this at the table to hold the children's attention and intimate atmosphere)
  • Prayer
  • Mama cleans dishes while children brush teeth and wipe down sink

School (assemble supplies the night before)
  • After chores, our morning walk, and a light snack for the children (yes, only an hour or so after breakfast!), we light our candle to indicate it's time for school
  • Procession and song
  • “Weather Helper” and Date
  • Let preschoolers play while I do lessons with my grade schooler
  • We all join together for Circle Time, which ends with our Closing Verse and blowing out of the candle.


  • Wash hands
  • Prepare food
  • Set table
  • Pour drinks

Lunch Clean-Up
  • Clear dishes
  • Wash dishes
  • Wipe table and counters, dry dishes
  • Sweep floor

Reentering from Quiet Time 

(We have a daily quiet time following lunch and outdoor play. The children must be in their rooms, quietly and independently occupied for one hour - babies and littles nap at this time - and Mama gets some much needed peace. It's a blessed time of relaxing for all. However, coming out of it can be the most challenging transition of the day, especially for my four-year-old.)
  • Mama connects with each child, helps under-fives clean up, sends children to table
  • Afternoon Snack (protein and vegetable)
  • Story and snuggle on couch
  • Gather supplies for afternoon handwork, art, or craft

Transition to Evening
  • “Five More Minutes (‘Til Clean-Up)” Song
  • Play with children for five minutes
  • Clean-up toys: “Let’s Clean Up Today”
  • Light candles
  • Set table
  • Pour drinks
  • Play board game until Daddy comes home

Evening Routine
  • Clear dinner dishes
  • Bath Time supervised by Daddy, Mama cleans kitchen
  • Out of tub, into pajamas, lay out clothes
  • Bedtime snack
  • Brush teeth, Mama lights candles
  • Story (starting with youngest and working to oldest, I tell a "homemade" story to each of my children while they snuggle in bed) and "dream kisses"
  • Prayer with Mama and Daddy, blow out candle

Coming Inside from Play
  • “Five More Minutes” Song
  • After five minutes, we clean-up the yard
  • “Now It’s Time (to Come Inside)” Song
  • Put away boots and coats
  • Wash hands

Getting Ready for an Outing
  • Gather for story and snuggle
  • When story is finished, explain the nature and any rules for the outing
  • Collect any necessary items for outing
  • Sing song to get shoes and coats on
  • Move to car and buckle up

This all may sound rather neurotic and nit-picky to more spontaneous parents. However, I have found that having a conscious transitional flow, particularly for times of day when my children are more likely to be cranky or resistant, has greatly enhanced the peace and joy of our home.

If the idea of intentional transitions seems appealing to you, I encourage you to give it a try. Pick one or two times during your day when you know your children struggle with moving from one task or experience to another. Think of all the steps that transition entails and a way to "connect and collect" your children's attention at the start. Then, try it out. You may find you need to do some tweaking after a couple of days' implementation. That's fine. 

As with nearly everything in parenting, finding a rhythm that works for your family is a journey, one that can always use refining and reflection and, most of all, grace.

1 comment:

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