Difficulty With Transitions

Almost every morning, one of the little girls I take care of in my daycare arrives with a very recognizable scream. I often hear her well before she makes it in the front door — much to her Mother’s chagrin (poor Mama). She is a wonderfully smart, loving child who has been in my care almost all of her four years of life. Yet, at least three days a week, this is her routine.

The other day, as I waited for the school bus with my children, my neighbor told me he heard a child screaming in front of my house that she wanted to go home. Normally, I would feel defensive (since I’m a bit of a Mama bear with all my kids – daycare ones included), but I knew he wasn’t trying to insinuate anything and I could tell he thought it was somehow endearing. I smiled and said, “Yes, that is one of my four-year-olds. At the end of the day, she will sometimes scream that she doesn’t want to go home. It’s normal, many of the kids do it. Sometimes children have difficulty with transitions.”

That is when another neighbor – a mom of a kindergartner I don’t know that well – said, “Transitions are difficult at any age.”

Difficulty with transitions

I paused and nodded my head. Her comment rang in my head all day. Yes, transitions are difficult. In fact, sometimes they feel impossible. And sometimes you don’t even realize you are in a transition until you come out on the other side.

I admire the people who glide from stage to stage in life without seeming to break a sweat. You know, the people who look forward to the day their kids are all in school… or are able to drive themselves places… or able to stay home without a babysitter.  I, on the other hand, am not a graceful transitioner. I obsess over every stage that comes and goes and I worry incessantly about what will come next – for me and for my family.

I think about what I will do when my youngest goes off to kindergarten in two years much too often. Or when my oldest leaves for college in three years. I want many things for myself and want to make changes, but I wonder if wanting these things is too selfish. I change my mind repeatedly — partly because of fear of what comes next. I worry what all these potential transitions will mean for my family. For our financial security. For the dynamics of our household.

A part of me wishes I could see into the future so I don’t make a mistake. So, I know what it is I’m “supposed” to do. Another part of me just wants to scream like the four-year-old who wears her emotions on her sleeves — although I don’t think anyone would think that was endearing. Yes, transitions ARE difficult at every age.

Do you struggle with transitions? Please join the conversation.


Nicole Dash is a writer, blogger and business owner who lives in the suburbs outside Washington, DC with her husband and four children. She started her career as a journalist and copy editor. She also managed public relations and corporate communications for a national franchise company, but in 2006 started a child care business. In 2012, she launched Tiny Steps Mommy, a lifestyle and parenting blog that quickly gained a following and connected her to an expansive group of women-owned businesses. In 2013, she started a digital marketing consulting business that focused on growing community in an authentic way. Through those connections she was inspired to open Play, Work or Dash, a coworking space that also offers onsite childcare up to three hours per day. It is where like-minded professionals pursue their business goals with the extra level of support parents desire; a place where you "bring your kids to work." She is an active member of the Washington, DC blogger community. She has been published on The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Mamalode and Pop Sugar.




  1. I agree with you that transitions can be difficult at any age! But I really don’t think you need compare yourself to people who look forward to the day their kids go to school and see yourself as lacking in any way. It’s more than likely that people who say that are finding the present something of a challenge! Honestly, I don’t think any of us can predict how we will feel when a major transition happens. We can prepare for it, but then life can take us by surprise. I can’t really say I’m looking forward to when my daughters leave home, but I’ll get through.
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  2. I totally agree! My son has had problems transiting since he was tiny. It is especially hard for him when he has to transition from something he likes. It is hard to be 4 years old!
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  3. I have always had trouble transitionING myself!! I get quite anxious before I have to leave for somewhere, and good Lord it is BAD when I leave out of town for any length of time. Once I’m actually on the road, or have had left whatever place I was leaving and on to the next- that anxiety slowly settles until I GET THERE and then transitioning once again to be at that place.

    Whew! It’s tough. To. Take.

    I bet I was a crier like that cutie patootie when I was four… sometimes I would like to let out a few sobs myself!
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  4. We’ve had a lot of problems with transitioning so I get it. the first time I traveled without my son, I imagined satellites falling on my head!!!
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  5. Transitioning is always hard for me, just when you have a routine, you need to get out of your comfort zone. Thankful for a supportive husband to help and l just listen to me vent!
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