martha's vineyard community services · early childhood programs · family center
Family Matters is prepared monthly by the Martha’s Vineyard Family Center, a program of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services
funded by grants from the Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund and the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care
Successful Transitions: Supporting Young Children
Ursula M. Ferro
Fall is a time of transition for children and their parents. Summer ends, school begins and on the island there is a major population shift, which affects all of our lives. Transitions require change and change can be diffi cult for many of us. When we change what we are doing there is an element of loss.
There are general transitions, which occur daily that are often very stressful for very young children and thus, their parents simply because they occur so frequently and they consume so much emotional energy. Th ese include changing from pajamas and gettingdressed, leaving childcare or preschool, going to the playground, leaving the playground, and getting ready for bed.
Major life transitions bring a different kind of stress to families. Sometimes we have no control over them. They are often changes that affect our lives over long periods of time. These are changes that deeply affect adults as well as children. They include a new baby/sibling, beginning day care/going to school, moving, parents going back to work/changing work/losing a job, growing (outgrowing your bed, learning to use the toilet, new expectations), parents separating, sickness and death.
There are ways that we can support our children (and take care of ourselves) as we all deal with the changes and feelings of loss that come with transitions. Often when we do things that help or calm our children, we also become calmer.
- Here are some suggestions:
- Create and keep to familiar routines as much as possible.
- Prepare children for change: “In five minutes we are going to get ready for bed.”
- Adopt a “we” attitude, e.g. “After you put your pajamas on we’ll read our bedtime book.”
- Write notes, draw pictures, and take dictation from young children to record feelings or “news of the day.”
- Make a weekly calendar of family events and activities.
- Give your child appropriate choices (what clothes to wear), it helps her feel a sense of control.
- Take photographs and make a book about the change (ex. moving, new school).
- Tell/read stories about similar transitions/events.
- Set clear limits: When our very young child is overwhelmed and is “out of control” it is often most helpful when we parents take control, ex “We are leaving the playground (school, house, etc.) now. You can walk with me, or I will carry you.” (Then DO it!)
In all cases it is important to recognize the element of loss that comes with transitions and change. This can sometimes free us to wholeheartedly engage what comes next!
Students Build Eco-Friendly House
Over the summer the students at First Light Child Development Center learned about “Recycling, and Clean Renewable Resources”.
With this knowledge they started building. They painted the house and glued rocks from the playground on the chimneys. They used popsicle sticks for the fence, foil and pieces of plastic for the Solar Panels and flower pots from a student’s doll house. The finishing touches were a pinwheel used as a wind turbine, buckets with pipe cleaner hoses placed under rain gutters to collect water and sprouting seeds in the front yard.
The students were so proud of their “Eco Friendly House” and were excited to enter it into the Agriculture Fair.
September Activity Schedule
- 9/7 First Day of School / Family Center Reopens
First Day of School Coff ee Hour for Parents 9–11:00 a.m. · Family Center
- 9/8 Open Playgroups every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday
Starting Wednesday, September 8 10:00–11:30 a.m. · Family Center
PAC Meeting 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. · Family Center
- 9/9 Kids at the Park every Th ursday -
September 9 - Oak Bluff s 10:30 – Noon
September 16 - Edgartown 10:30 - Noon
September 23 - Oak Bluff s 10:30 – Noon
September 30 - Edgartown 10:30 – Noon
Waiting Parents Group 7:00 - 8:30 p.m · Family Center
- 9/11 All Families Touched by Adoption Group 3:30–5:30 p.m. · State Beach
- 9/13 Baby’s First Year - Mondays 3–4 & Th ursdays 10:30–Noon · Starting Monday, 9/13 · Family Center
- 9/22 Edgartown School Health Fair 6:00–7:00 p.m. Edgartown School
- 9/23 Martha’s Vineyard Council for Young Children meeting 5:30–7:00 p.m.
MVRHS Library Conference Room · Commissioner Sherri Killins in attendance
- 9/26 Family Fall Farm Fest an Art for Education fundraiser 1:00–4:00 p.m.
RunAmok Farm - Potluck with Johnny Hoy & the Bluefi sh
For more information call Garden Gate (508) 696-9997
- 9/28 ACE Course Sampling Fair & In-Person Registration 5:30–7:00 p.m. MVRHS Cafeteria
Provider Network meeting / Strengthening Families Training
5:30–7:30 p.m. · MVRHS Library Conference Room
- 9/29 ACE In-Person Registration 5:30–7:00 p.m. MVRHS Lobby
- 9/30 Vineyard Smiles - Edgartown School - for information call (508) 693-0020 x14
Family Center Potluck Dinner 5:30–7:00 p.m.
Backpacks come in all sizes, colors, fabrics, and shapes and help kids of all ages express their own personal sense of style. As practical as backpacks are, though, they can strain muscles and joints and may cause back pain if they’re too heavy or are used incorrectly. Here’s how to help kids find the right backpack.
Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and padded back. Pack light. Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of the your child’s body weight. Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles. Consider a rolling backpack. Th is type of backpack may be a good choice for students who must tote a heavy load. Remember that rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs, and they may be difficult to roll in snow.
American Academy of Pediatrics