Children love predictability, they treasure knowing what comes next, being warned ahead of time. They really like to be informed and included in the planning process, to be prepared well before departure. We have discovered this in time so that when “my work” required movements, Sara knew ahead and thus the gaps in our little routine were accepted more easily.
Now that “Saia (Sara) is big (older)”, at her 2 years and 9 months, the preparation is much easier. Firstly because we habituated her this way, we included it in the preceding discussion, we explained what will happen, how we will travel, how long, whom we will meet with etc. Finally, she had full access to the entire route. We looked on the maps together, we watched the planes that crisscrossed the sky and as the departure was approaching, we were all happy for what was to take place.
I have met very often, in professional readings, but also in conferences and courses in which I participated, information about how children need three weeks to open and adjust to any new location. You realize that short vacations and weekend outflows, especially in the absence of prior preparation, tend to stir. Our departures have never been three weeks, but preparations have helped Sarah to shorten the period of adaptation.
In the departure day Sara is already loaded with what will eventually happen and that there was no mystery and mystification, she was actually the one describing the stages with joy and enthusiasm. Enumeration of the means of transport was just a game and her way of showing us that she was careful and that she knew what was going to happen. So, the trip with the taxi to the airport was strewn with joy, pigmented with joy and curiosity. The airport has become a huge playground, although full of rules, but still when you look at the adults from the middle of childhood smiles, things in the world slip tortuously into human warmth.
Alfie Kohn begins his lectures with an anecdotal story that reflects the attitude of society in general when found stuck in vehicles containing children. People tend to look childhood from adult’s “high spheres”, and often forgets the fancy price they pay for it. They forget the spontaneous joy, smile, empathy, and warmth, so if they see kids on the plane, their expressions tend to change … for the kids … you know …
For us, the plane was a new opportunity to explore through play, the landscape that seemed to open right beneath our feet. It is true that Sara left the seat belt during take-off yet I had not prevented nor for the life of me, so happy she was the window and the universe that ran crazy as to stay behind. And I must admit that the landing occurred in similar parameters such as the takeoff. The flight went great, and that happened due to the training which took place, Sarah was the perfect travel partner. We laughed all three when the bus went under our feet and we had to wait “only” for the next 50 minutes, we were glad when the next arrived. We laughed on the station platform counting the trains and always saying that “this is not for us” and when the right one finally arrived we crammed into it joyfully finding a place “right by the window.” Regular sleep hours were dissolved under the strong impressions of the new, rediscovering the joy of loved ones, and Sara had traveled all the way into mirth.
Of course, changes bring with them a tinge of discomfort in her routine, but weeping and discharging laughter and healing helps a lot. In addition, our presence, the warmth of loved ones and the “new” prepared early, gave to Sarah the key to peace, joy, and security. There are moments that have their own distinctiveness, moments that reflect the need to return to the familiar and yet, they weigh lighter than a feather when at the other pan of the balance there is joy, warmth and the presence of loved ones.
“Children love predictability, to know what is next, to be warned” … so treat your children as your equals, and you will have everything to gain.
Technical details”: Sara Age: – 2 years and 9 months
Timing change alert: – the more time you devote to accommodation, the better. At least two weeks before the change, but as a major demarcation.
Frequency: – every day, use games to make the information more enjoyable. Include details as detailed as possible, use maps, images etc.„