Coping with Transition: The Three A’s
It’s easy to feel discouraged during times of intense transition or major changes in a baby or child’s life, and sometimes it takes awhile to realize that what you’re doing is no longer working.
My girls have been making the transition from baby to toddlerhood, and lately I feel like I’m trying my best just to keep up. By the time I figure it out, they’re on to the next phase, and I’m still stuck in the past, clapping my hands and saying, “Okay, now I’m ready!” And they’re saying, “Ma, that was soo last week, get with the program!”
This past week, I was frustrated, even angry at times. At my children. That didn’t feel right. Something had to give. But it wasn’t them, it was ME.
I needed to change my strategy and come up with a new game plan that would help everyone get through this rough patch with their sanity intact. I came up with something that I think might actually work:
The Three A’s: Accept, Assess, and Act.
Let’s use sleep as the example, because that is where we’re really struggling at the moment.
Right now, the girls are in their own cribs in their room, for both naps and nighttime. But naps have been brutal. In the past, they’d sleep through each other’s noises and cries, but that has changed. I was irritated and they were so tired, and I finally realized that they probably needed to nap in separate rooms for the time being. It sounds so simple – but in the thick of a challenging situation and when you’re in the throes of sleep deprivation, it’s not. So I used the three A’s to help me think it through.
Accept: What are the facts? The girls just do not nap well in the same room right now. It doesn’t mean they never will again, it’s just the Right Now. We’ve been consistent with them sleeping together, for sentimental and for practical reasons. But I needed to get over it and do what I could to let these girls get some good quality sleep. I was hoping they’d get through it, but after a week, we were ALL suffering. Accept. Of course, I also needed to accept the fact that there are many reasons behind their struggles, like teething or a growth or development spurt.
Assess: So now that I’ve accepted the reality of the situation, what do I do? What does each of them need? How can I go about this in a gentle way that helps everyone? I thought about it, talked to my husband, and we made a game plan. Assess.
Act: I had a secret hope that one of them would lay down and nap with me (I miss the days of bed sharing), but the distraction proved too much. So I set up a Pack n’ Play in our room and laid Afton down with her blankie, stuffed frog, and a fan for white noise. If she woke up too early, I could work with her without worrying about the other one waking up out of a dead sleep. And if it didn’t work, well, back to #2 to do some re-assessing!
Luckily, it did work.
And yes, it all seems so simple, but it has really helped me get through these challenging times by helping me regroup, refocus, and make the best choices for these little girls and our family as a whole.
Read more about parenting toddlers through difficult times:
How do you handle the difficult transitions with your children?
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