Using Transitional Items with Kids and Yourself

Pooh Bear (1 of 3) goes to the dentist.
Notice, she gave him a cup to HOLD during the demonstration.

Want to reduce anxiety?

Use a transitional item, that can be HELD.

  • Awake to Sleep (blanket, pillow, stuffy)
  • T2 to the Finish Line (running sticks)
  • House to School (mini-stuffy)
  • Home to Hotel (pillow, sleep stuff, favorite PJs)

Many parents wonder if they should “toughen the kid up” by taking away the transitional item.


Momma Cat with her kitten (1 of 3) goes to school, in her favorite PJs, wearing her favorite hat.
Whatever it takes!

As soon as a kid grew attached to a blanket, or stuffy, we’d purchase two more and stash them someplace safe.

If we ever forgot to do this… regret!

Our little ones aren’t little anymore. Their blankets/stuffies still give them comfort.

Scooter around town in your favorite Halloween costume, in December?
Let’s do it.

Not just kids!

  • Eye-shades
  • Travel pillow
  • Phone, water bottle or purse
  • “Lucky” socks

For situations where you are prone to anxiety, create a talisman.

I learned to doodle when the kids were young. When we came across a little one, who was struggling…

What’s your favorite animal, amigo?

Here ya’ go, matey!

Why yes, you CAN keep it…

Sometimes, we all we need is a distraction.

Kids get a bit wild when you arrive at a new location?

Have them bring enough stuff that they have to set up their room, or bed, upon arrival.

Buys you a bit of time to relax after the drive.

When we have a house guest, the reverse applies.
Burn off a little energy setting up to host a kid.

We can’t eliminate life’s challenges.

With a small effort to up-skill ourselves…

We can cut them in half.

Final tip: teach your kids to NEVER take things away from someone.

  • Exchange, or
  • Wait your turn

All this stuff works great on adults. You’ll see it used a lot in sales and high-stress situations.

Child’s Play

Pirate ShipAt my kids’ preschool there are only a few rules for safety – mainly around the zip line.

One of the rules they have for kids (and parents) is to NEVER help another kid up a tree or piece of equipment. Their view is the kids have a better idea of their limits than their friends, or parents.

Since they taught this to me, I’ve been a lot more hands off with my children and careful not to encourage them get in over their heads. It’s stressful when they are little but they figure out how things work quite quickly.

Wanted to pass that along as it’s been a useful technique to help my kids self-regulate.

One of my “fondest” toddler memories was my oldest daughter hanging upside down on a cargo net, screaming, at Pirate Ship Park in Vail. By the time I put my phone down and got over there, a mom had bailed me out.

Yes, I was the Dad looking at his phone while his three-year-old hung upside down.

Still working on getting the balance right.