Navigating Change with a Toddler


Y’all,  I love lists. I love order. I take great pleasure in doing a final sweep through the house at the end of the day to set things to rights. Clutter big time stresses me out. I’m not a schedule nazi, but I do love being in a routine. So when life recently threw a bucketful of change my family’s way, I knew it would be challenging for me, not to mention my toddler.

It doesn’t matter the situation. You could be moving, going back to work after a hiatus, changing schools for your child, returning from a long trip, or welcoming a new baby. Change can be stressful for adults, and while our littles are resilient, it  impacts them as well.

I am by no means an expert, but wanted to share my lessons learned on how to make the process of change a little less harrowing for you and your little one.

  • Don’t embark on any unnecessary changes. If your life is in a state of upheaval, this isn’t the time to wean or potty train. Trying to break the bottle or pacifier habit can wait too. Focus on the season you’re in. You’ll have time to conquer those milestones in a bit.
  • Ease up on yourself, mama! Giving your tots a little more screen time than you prefer? Ordering a few too many nights of takeout instead of your normal home cooked meals? Give yourself a pass. Sometimes we need the shortcut to get through a stressful time. If Daniel Tiger is going to help you get the job done, well I say it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, folks!
  • Try to stay consistent in the things you CAN control. Maintain bedtime routines and nap times. If you’re moving, make sure that special lovey doesn’t get packed away.
  • Find new tools. Make a photo book to read with your child about the changes. (ex: after several emotional drop offs at his new school, our son’s teacher made him his very own book with photos of his new classroom, teachers, and friends to help with the transition… EPIC WIN). If you’re away from family, plan regular Skype or FaceTime dates. Reach out to your I-don’t-care-that-your-house-is-a-mess-I’m-coming-over people and let them do what they do best.
  • Be patient & loving. Change is difficult for the most prepared adult, so empathize with your children. Take a breather and think about where that epic toddler tantrum is coming from. Realize the impact of the changes in your life and take into account the emotional maturity of your child.

Take a deep breath. Eventually the season of change will pass. You will find your groove and routine again and so will your family.

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