4 Ways Parents Can Rock Zumbini Techniques At Home

The way in which parents set up daily routines and transitions can make or break the daily flow in the home. Here are four parenting strategies to leave you feeling more confident and connected with your child at the end of each day.

Once upon a time, there existed life before kids. Remember those care-free days when you slept in and routines consisted of beauty and wellness? Those days probably feel like faded memories. Memories of smooth and seamless schedules in comparison to the running list of things that today, as a parent, you are expected to do in a 24-hour period.

It's no secret it takes a lot of time, energy, and patience to parent a child through each and every day. The way in which we set up and deliver the upcoming tasks to our little ones can actually make or break the daily flow. Understanding the mind of a child from both a developmental and temperamental standpoint is useful in setting expectations around daily routines. We all know that there are going to be difficult moments in the day, usually revolving around mornings, mealtimes, potty, and bedtime routines. Basically, whenever kids are asked to do things they don't want to do.

As a director of parent education at Zumbini, I've got you covered with mindset shifts and actionable strategies to create smoother transitions and overall experiences, which will leave you feeling more confident and connected with your child at the end of each day.

An image of a woman and her son.
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Introduce Visual Aids for Routines

Children's brains are so busy with exploration that it is hard for them to hold their to-do lists in mind. Set your child up for success by creating visual aids around the house. A favorite of ours is the visual routine chart, which breaks the routine down into specific steps through pictures and words. In a morning routine chart, you might add "wake up, potty, get dressed, breakfast, brush teeth," while in the bedtime routine chart, you might include all of the steps that occur from bath time until the moment you say goodnight. The use of visual charts can also reduce power struggles by decreasing the amount of micromanaging that parents feel like they need to do during tasks, while also increasing a child's competence in completing daily responsibilities.

Prepare for Transitions

Transitions between activities, even those that seem minor (such as going from playtime to playground), can often feel big for young children. We may not notice, but children are often hard at work: exploring, investigating, creating, and imagining. It is important to allow children to complete their "work," even if only in a mental capacity. Children also do better when they know what is coming up next (don't we all?). Transitional warnings can help children know when something they are doing is coming to an end soon and that something else will soon begin. We often hear people give "five-minute" warnings, but it is more useful to give a young child, who has limited time-management skills, a more relatable concept of the time left.

Before leaving the playground, you could say, "We are leaving in five minutes. This means you get to go on the slide two more times." When finishing playtime, you can say, "Playtime is almost over. It's time to pick your last crayon to color with." It's helpful to follow the warnings with a description of what is coming up next in the routine.

Get Specific

Breaking down a vague directive like "clean up your toys" into more specific directives like "blocks go in the bin, books go on the shelves" can set a child up for success, since you are clarifying your expectations and breaking big goals up into smaller, manageable steps. Whenever a child is failing at something, give them smaller steps, which will feel more achievable to the child.

Give Them Choices

Children are autonomous little beings that like to, and need to, feel powerful in their lives. It is no wonder, then, that power struggles arise throughout the parenting day. Feeling powerful is important for the development of healthy independence, self-directedness, and competency skills. Yet, a child's need to feel influential and autonomous is also the cause of much of the frustration in the household.

The trick, parents, lies in how we deliver our directives to our children. Telling a child, "It's time for you to go to the bath," can feel very demanding and as if we are stripping the child of all free choice. The truth is, they do not have an option much of the time but, if we create space for choice in a contained and acceptable way, then a child's need to fight for power tends to decrease. Notice the difference when giving a child the same bath directive while adding a choice. "It's time for you to go to the bath. Would you like to take your bath toys or your bath books with you today?" There's something impactful about allowing children to have some influence in their daily tasks.

Evelyn Mendal is a licensed mental health therapist, mother to a 5-year-old, and the Director of Parent Education at Zumbini. Zumbini's Love Parenting™ provides education and actionable tools to help parents navigate the first five years with confidence. You can learn more by visiting zumbiniloveparenting.com or following along on Instagram @Zumbiniofficial

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