Thursday, August 25, 2016

5 Tips to Ease Transitions and Avoid Meltdowns for Toddlers

We've all been there. You're at the playground with friends and it's time to leave. And, sure enough, your toddler has an epic meltdown. How can this be avoided??? Today the topic of Babywise Friendly Blog Network Pinterest Day is transitions and I'm talking about ways to help your toddler transition to avoid those dreaded meltdowns! Toddlers feel emotions in a BIG WAY and communicate those emotions through tantrums, sobfests or just straight meltdowns. Transitions are SO important at this crucial age. Communicating with them, letting them know what's coming next, and preparing them when it's time to switch gears all help them to juggle these tender emotions and avoid meltdowns. 

1. Meet Their Needs: It may seem obvious but making sure your toddler is full and well rested are both important elements to avoid meltdowns. All the transitioning prep in the WORLD won't help your toddler avoid a tantrum if they aren't previously set up for success. As a parent it's easier to see that a baby is overtired or hungry than it is a toddler. Often we become more slack on the toddler schedule because they are at such a fun age to go and do and experience the world. But without their set routine in place you can't fully ENJOY the experiences with them because those meltdowns will occur and they will occur often.

2. Prepare in Advance: When you pull up to the playground, let your toddler know your expectations. "We'll be at the playground for a little while and we will have fun but if you choose to pitch a fit we will leave." Lay the groundwork to let them know if THEY choose to misbehave then the fun will end. Letting them know the plans in advance also helps prepare them to transition from sitting in the car to playing and having fun but while knowing it's for a limited time and with expectations attached. I also don't recommend preparing too far in advance. Toddlers have short attention spans and it's best to communicate with them right when the event is about to happen rather than before you leave the house or that morning when they wake up etc. 

3. Begin The Transition Early: You know you have to leave the playground in 5 minutes. Toddlers don't understand time. I've heard SO many moms say "ok son, 5 more minutes." That child has no clue how long 5 minutes is. And when that 5 minutes is up they surely won't be ready to leave. Instead it's better to put it in more concrete terms that the child DOES understand. Instead of a time frame let them know "Ok honey, we are leaving in a few minutes so we have time for 3 more slides." Make sure you require a YES MA'AM response. Not only does this let you know they heard you but that they understood. And as they go down the slide? Remind them "that's have two more." Then "that's two...this is the LAST TIME." 

4. Praise Praise Praise: When they come down that slide for the last time? Tell them to come to you and that's it's time to go and PRAISE LIKE CRAZY! They obeyed, they did awesome and they need to be cheered on for it. Having that happy attitude when it's time to leave something fun is contagious. They will feel happy because you are happy and they will be less likely to have a breakdown. 

5. Say Bye Bye: My favorite tool for transitioning is saying goodbye. When I put my daughter down for nap she has NO issues putting down whatever toy she's holding. She puts it down and says "Bye bye toy!" She thinks it's hilarious to tell everything in her room "bye bye" and it makes it so easy to transition from play time to nap time. Same goes for leaving the playground. Say "Bye bye slide! See you later!" Telling something (or someone) goodbye helps the toddler to realize they are leaving but also reminds them that they can see it again (or visit again) in the future. It's a clear transition term. We're done with this and moving on to something else. 

These tips work in ANY and EVERY situation. I used the playground as an example because that's SUCH a common place for toddlers to have breakdowns. But, as I mentioned, it works great at home when it's time for bed. Or time for bath. Or time to get in the car. Or really anything! Make sure those needs are met in advance, prepare for what's coming, begin in advance of the change, praise like crazy, and say "bye bye" to give a clear marker of the transition occurring. Bam! Happy, meltdown free toddler! 

Be sure to visit all of the Babywise Friendly Bloggers today on this topic! And if you're not already following me on Pinterest you can do so here (tons of resources on parenting, party planning and more!) and also the Babywise Friendly Bloggers have our own Pinterest page here!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Parker Family Vaca 2016

Every year we go away for a few days with Zach's family. This year we went down to Orlando for a long weekend!

Britt was in hardcore princess dance camp mode and did some dancing for us at the rest stop haha

Zach's parents booked an AWESOME house at Solterra Resort. I'd never heard of it before but it's beyond nice! It's a little steeper in price than we typically pay but the homes are HUGE and BEAUTIFULLY decorated and the pool area is awesome too. So it's well worth the price especially for a family this size to all be able to stay together :)

Once everyone arrived the girls went to the store to get groceries for the weekend. While there we got a call that Big Daddy's sister passed away. We had originally planned to stay until Monday but the funeral was set for Sunday and Mr. Rusty needed to get back to be there for his dad and the rest of the family. We had planned to do a day at the beach (Cocoa Beach is only 45 min from Orlando) but we rearranged plans to make sure Mr. Rusty and Mrs. Charlotte could get back. It was a bit of a crazy evening trying to figure it all out!

I don't think I saw Kye majority of the trip! He and Colt teamed up and were GONE ;)

I think these boys stayed in the garage majority of the time playing with all the great games they had!

Our typical tradition is to do a Girl's Night Out one night of the trip and we usually do it the first night! I'm so thankful we did because the trip went downhill pretty quick for me and I'd hate to have missed out on it. I had a goal of getting some good pics on my camera over the weekend for the adoption book. Props to Brad for playing photographer ;)


Another tradition on the Parker family trip is the guys going golfing. Jordan and Zach went along with Kye and Mr. Rusty. I was proud of Kye for wanting to go even though it meant missing out on what all the other cousins were doing that day. He loves golf! 

Typically when the guys golf we find something fun to do with the kids! This trip we found a really neat petting farm called Green Meadows. We lucked out and a lady in line told Casey they had a Groupon for it so we got in pretty cheap and had a fun morning with all the animals!

It was quite the experience. They do a couple hours of a tour around the farm and it's VERY hands on. We got to feed most of the animals and pet them and walk in their pens. It was very dirty because, hello animals. The tour guide was very hands on too. As in kissing the animals on the mouth and letting them lick him. It was kinda gross? There was not enough emphasis on sanitizer and hand washing but otherwise it was a neat experience especially for the kids. 

Zebra + Horse = HEBRA!

Britt was in a funk which was frustrating for me but I tried to just let her be and focus on Tess who was LOVING IT. Child wanted to literally pet every single animal and loved feeding them and had zero fear. She's really my biggest animal lover of the three kids (as was I as a kid). I really want to go on a family trip to a zoo so Zach can see her love of animals firsthand. It's PRECIOUS! 

It was great having such a big crew, Britt was all about some Aunt Courtney time that morning and I was down! 

I feel ya girl ;)

We had to wait to get in the chicken pen because there was a huge snake in there trying to eat the eggs! 

Colt was a pro at catching chickens!

Casey's favorite animal ;)

first horse ride!

choo choo time!

They also had an indoor area with reptiles and furry friends. Tess was all about them too! She doesn't discriminate in her animal loves :)

 Britt turned a corner and was in a WAY better mood which made my heart happy!

I started not feeling so great (HELLO FACE GATE) and took a nap when we got back. I woke up and remembered I had automatically had the blog post our adoption announcement so I had a flood of texts which was a nice thing to wake up to. I texted Zach and told him the announcement had been made :)

When the girls and I woke up from naps everyone else was at the resort pool but I just did nottttt feel like going. So we hung back and had our own little dance party! It was SUPER fun until Britt made some super poor choices that resulted in some major parenting discussions. Poor choices are one thing but being sneaky is a matter of the heart. She had misled me so she could sneak and eat some donuts in the kitchen. I saw the crumbs on her face and she lied about it to me. It was very disappointing but a wonderful opportunity to make sure we spoke to the heart of the matter. I called Zach immediately and he and his dad discussed it while they were driving. We decided to have her go on treat restriction. She didn't get to eat any treats the rest of our trip OR the majority of our trip coming up at the beach as a family. It was a 2 week long punishment which she handled very well. She understood WHY and she would remind us she wasn't allowed to have any treats. It was a big learning moment for her and I'm proud of how well she did with it and have full faith that sneakiness won't be an issue again anytime soon. 

Always guy time ;)

Once the kids were in bed all the adults gathered in Mr. Rusty's and Mrs. Charlotte's room. Which was pretty hilarious because Mr. Rusty was kinda trying to get alone time and instead half of us ended up in his bed with him. It was my personal favorite memory of the trip. It was just super chill and we were all giggly and there were lots of jokes and such. It was a time where I felt very "part of" and was a memory I'll always cherish. Random, but it was just a great moment!

The next morning we went to Golden Corral for a big breakfast! We did it a couple years ago and all loved it so we were excited to go back (and yes, Britt missed out on any of the treats there!)

Had to get some family pics first!

Kye was hilarious at the buffet. Kid can grub and he was in HEAVEN! 

Once we got back to the condo we spent the day at the pool. It wasn't crowded at all and was the perfect place for the little ones. It has a wonderful shallow end and an awesome slide!

Ready for the slide with Daddy!

I love her big grin the whole way down!

"Again again again!"

Big Papa's turn to take her

Carter's turn!

haha not too sure?

This series of pics CRACKS ME UP. Mr. Rusty attempted to do the same thing Zach and Jordan did with holding the babies up in the air when they hit the pool...

Instead he went completely under the water and pulled her down with him hahaha


I think she'd rather go with Daddy ;)

That afternoon Zach and I rested and let the big kids stay with everyone else. I was really feeling rough at that point but didn't want to take away from Mr. Rusty's birthday celebration! Once we got the kids into bed though Zach and I headed to the urgent care!

Mr. Rusty and Mrs. Charlotte had planned to head back Sunday morning but the rest of us were going to stay through Monday morning as originally planned. Until I woke up like this and then plans changed. I felt super bad for our kids because we had no choice but to leave and they really had so much fun and didn't want to go!!! I'm thankful we headed back and got me to the ER and got things handled though. There was just no way I could have stuck it out in that state!

You know he had fun when he CRASHED once we got home!

I hate that Face Gate took over the trip for me. I'm so thankful the kids had such a great time though, that's really what it's all about!!!

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