This strategy can change ALL your transitions!

When we help prepare our children for what might happen, they can stay calmer and more regulated when they do the thing. Calmer children can mean more connection and joy in your parenting.

Front loading is an AMAZING parenting strategy! I define it as:


talking through possibilities of what might happen.


It also can be a great way to talk through possible feelings they might have.

I remember hearing that when people are nervous about going to the dentist, it can be because they are painting the experience with a single brush stroke (DISCOMFORT!). They easily forget about all the things that will be enjoyable about the experience. The receptionist may be really kind, remember something personal about them and smile. There might be a great magazine in the waiting room. The appointment might be pain free, and you get a new toothbrush (and maybe even floss!).

This isn't just for the dentist, but we (and our children) can forget all the steps, moments and feelings that may be associated with a transition. 


This is just one reason why front loading your child may be helpful when you are going to transition. 


What's your last thing before we leave the park?

Why does Front Loading Work?

For A LOT Of reasons!!!

  1. It helps to create a little mental 'warm up' lap around what might happen. They are able to visualize and start to prepare for the transition. 
  2. It helps kids who may struggle with planning, but being their co-regulator and taking on some of the planning role for them, but then passing the baton. 
  3. It primes their body for possible emotional experiences that may be associated with the transition, 
  4. It can help them bring to a close what they are working on, so they don't feel like they have loose ends before they transition. 
  5. You can set you both up for success as you hear what their needs might be, so you can see if you can meet both their need AND your need. 

When we front load our kids it might sound like:

“We are going to the mail, but your package might not be here yet. How do you think that’ll feel? And what are some things you can do with that feeling?”

“When you go to daycare, we are going to go up the gate. Then your teacher will come out wearing a mask. We will sanitize your hands, I'll hand your things to your teacher and then we’ll have a big hug. I’ll pass you to your teacher and we’ll wave goodbye. Then if you are feeling sad, your teacher will cuddle you. I’ll come back and get you at the end of the day.”

“In 5 minutes we are leaving the park, what’s your last thing?”

Many of you amazing parents will be familiar with this as the "five minute warning" which is a great start to the front load. The additional offerings are things like: what do you need to do in order to be done in five minutes? What can I help with? How might you feel when that transition happens? 


Try it out and then let me know your front loading wins! 

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