Consciously Fostering Cooperation

~ By Rebecca Thompson

As parents, we’ve all had those moments. You have somewhere you must be at a particular time. As you stand by the door wearing your shoes, holding your purse and diaper bag, you find your child half naked (again) heading in the opposite direction covered in finger paints.


Thankfully, it isn’t always this dramatic (or traumatic), but getting kids out of the house in a timely manner with their full cooperation is a concern for most parents. Admittedly, there are still times when I am standing by the door with my 14 year-old ready to go when I realize that my 9 year-old still hasn’t gotten himself dressed.


So how can we navigate situations like this with love and respect for everyone? Here are some tips I’ve put together over the years of managing transitions with the least amount of wear and tear for everyone.


However long you think it is going to take to get out of the house, at least double it. The more that we rush and try to rush our kids, the more likely someone is going to just put on the brakes. When we have more time, it isn’t such a big deal when the toddler removes her shoes (again) because you still have time to spare. It also helps to not rush them through their own little world, noticing on the way to the car that there is a caterpillar crawling on the sidewalk. Being in the present moment is a gift that children still have and, while it can make it a bit more challenging to get out the door, it can be an awesome reminder for us parents to slow down and “smell the roses,” too.


Keep your kids informed that change is coming. Some kids need a lot of warning that a transition is coming. Others do best when the notice is short. Pay attention to what works best for your child. Simple statements about what is happening and what they need to do next helps to make transition time easier for most families.


Keep it Light and FUN

Parents take things too seriously. We’re all worried about making sure that our kids get clothes on, wear socks and shoes, and follow a “schedule.” Kids are immersed in the world of play. Ask yourself, “What can I do to enter my child’s world during this transition, rather than simply asking my child to enter my (boring) world?” When you really ask that question, you may find that the answers include singing a silly song, pretending you’re the train conductor and it is time to pick up the passengers to head to the car, or simply taking the time to notice what your child is engaged in and honoring that before asking him to move on to the next thing.


What works for you and your family? I’d love to hear!


Next month, we’ll go a little more deeply into transitions and why they are so difficult for some children. What are your biggest transition challenges?

Rebecca Thompson is the founder and executive director of The Consciously Parenting Project. Rebecca has been actively educating parents and facilitating parent groups and workshops that encourage conscious decision-making in family life since 1998.  As a wife and the mother of two boys, she has personal as well as professional experience navigating the terrain of parenting. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, with special-ized training in attachment and trauma. Consciously Parenting: What It Really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families is Rebecca’s first book, and the first of four books in the Consciously Parenting Series.

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