One of the best pieces of advice that anyone has given me about having a smooth and easy day is this:
Manage your transitions well
The times when my day most often gets derailed is when moving from one activity to another, from one time of day to another. Breakfast to jobs. Morning Basket to bookwork. Playtime to pack up time. Teeth time to bedtime.
Once I have lost them, it takes simply ages to get everyone back together again.
So now, I try and focus on managing the transitions. By being deliberate about them, by creating little rituals around them, our days are peaceful.
When we don’t manage the transitions well – peaceful? Not so much.
Here are some of the ways I try to make it work:
I have transitions that give me time to gather myself. The kids watch a 15 minute program between morning jobs and the start of our learning time. It gives me time to make a cup of tea and check that I have everything we need. We will sometimes do this when we get home after being out somewhere, to give me time to decide what we will do next.
It’s thinking space. Breathing space. A chance to get my act together so that I can pretend I know what I’m doing with our day. I sometimes use DEAR time (drop everything and read time) the same way.
I prepare for the transitions before the previous thing ends. I try to organise what we are doing in the afternoon before rest time ends. I try to organise breakfast before the music plays for the kids to get up (music is another good transition tool. A signal that it’s time to change).
Some days everything goes to pot and this doesn’t work. Some days I forget. Some days life gets out of control. But when I do manage the transitions, we keep our daily rhythm much better.
Do you have any tricks for managing transitions? I’d love to hear them!