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When it's time to go home and your toddler just isn't having it, it's most likely because they are having difficulty transitioning. A transition is simply the act of moving from one activity to the next.

When speaking with teachers regarding children who are having difficulty in the classroom, I always ask what time of the day the child is most likely to have a meltdown and/or what exactly they are doing at that time. More times than not, it is during a transition of some sort that the child loses their composure. It is when the child is moving from one center to the next, from free-play to circle time, from outdoor play to indoor play, you get the point.

It is completely normal for children to have a hard time with transitions. Kids on the autism spectrum have an even harder time with transitioning, since their auditory processing skills and/or language skills are often impaired.

Since adults are usually the ones in charge of the order of events, it can feel very frustrating to a child when it's time to move on but they don't feel ready to!

I have been there many times with my own children. It can be really tough when you have appointments and time constraints that your child isn't mature enough to understand. But I promise you there is hope. There is a way to leave in a timely manner without your child having a total meltdown.

These are my go to hacks for lessening the drama when it's time to transition from one activity to the next. Even if you don't remember all five, just pick one or two that makes sense for you and be consistent. The steps are in order of most effective and easiest to implement first.

1. Prior verbal preparation

Tell them exactly what is on the agenda and when it will be time to go home. This way, there will be no surprises on their end when it’s time to leave.

Before you go over to a friends house, tell them something like this: "We are going over to Melissa's house. We are going to have dinner. When we finish dinner, we will gather all our things, say thank you and then we will go home."

You're having them think of the exit prior to even getting there. Car rides are a great place for this kind of a conversation as it immediately precedes the event and your audience is captive.

If it’s a child having a hard time transitioning to school, you could say something like, "We are going to get dressed, eat breakfast then we will get in the car and go to school."

2. Timers + verbal time warnings

This is a classic example of how we can help children transition, and the one parents are most familiar with. It’s also the one we use the most often in therapy because it is so simple and effective. A verbal time warning would be "Five more minutes and then we are going home." Continue to give warnings after each minute if necessary.

A timer is the same concept, except it’s more precise and less work on your part. All you need to do is say, "You can play for five more minutes. Here I'll set the timer. When it starts beeping, it’s time to go home." Most, if not all, cell phones have a timer application.

3. Talk to them about what's on the other side

If it's time to get in the car and your child is telling you they aren't ready to leave by kicking and screaming, give this one a try.

Talk to them about what exciting things/activities are on the other side. Sometimes it isn't enough to say "We need to go home" or "We are going to the store," because in their eyes, what they're doing (i.e. building Lego towers) is more important.

So make it more enticing to them and get them involved using descriptors and favorite things about the next sequence of events. For example, "Oh no, we are all out of apples! Can you help me find some at the store?" or, "We need to go home so we can take Sparky out for a walk! You can ride in the stroller!"

4. Transitional object

A transitional object is simply the idea of using a preferred object or toy to help a child transition from one activity to the next. I legitimately use this concept every day in the clinic and with my own kids. It plays out like this:

I meet a child in the lobby who is typically slow to warm up and transition away from the parent. I see he is carrying his favorite action figure in his hand. Instead of saying, "Okay it’s time for therapy," I say "You brought batman today! Do you think he wants to see what we do in the gym?" Then I usually ask the child where we should set the favorite item where he can see all the action.

Another example would be to keep a favorite blanket, action figure, doll or teddy bear around with you in your purse to make getting into the car more exciting. You don't necessarily have to use it every time but it will be there when your child is having trouble.

5. Visual schedule

Oftentimes, a visual schedule is a quick fix for a toddler in transitional trouble and these work wonders for children who are more "concrete thinkers" and those who have language delays.

A visual schedule is simply a schedule that is visual and not auditory. So instead of saying, "We are first eating breakfast, then we are getting ready, and then we are going to school,” you draw it out in broken down steps that are easy for your child to comprehend.

You can place this visual schedule right by your child's bed so you can explain to them what will happen that day. You can also bring it with you in the car as a reminder about what is coming up next.

Then your child won't be surprised when you say it's time to go! I like to say, "Okay, what's after number three?" as a cue for what is coming next. (Usually when I use a visual schedule, the kids like to check off or cross out each step as it’s completed.)

So there you go! It really is that simple. No, it probably won't work every time but I am confident it will smooth out the majority of transition troubles you are experiencing with your little one. Good luck mama, you've got this!

Originally published by Ashley Thurn on helpinghandsot.com.

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Parents in New Jersey will soon get more money and more time for parental leave after welcoming a baby.

This week New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed off on legislation that extends New Jersey's paid family leave from six weeks to 12.

It also increases the benefit cap from 53% of the average weekly wage to 70%, meaning the maximum benefit for a parent on family leave will be $860 a week, up from $650.

It might not seem like a huge difference, but by raising the benefit from two-thirds of a parent's pay to 85%, lawmakers in New Jersey are hoping to encourage more parents to actually take leave, which is good for the parents, their baby and their family. "Especially for that new mom and dad, we know that more time spent bonding with a child can lead to a better long-term outcome for that child," Murphy said at a press conference this week.

The law will also make it easier for people to take time off when a family member is sick.

Because NJ's paid leave is funded through payroll deductions, workers could see an increase in those deductions, but Murphy is betting that workers and businesses will see the benefits in increasing paid leave benefits. "Morale goes up, productivity goes up, and more money goes into the system," Murphy said. "And increasingly, companies big and small realize that a happy workforce and a secure workforce is a key ingredient to their success."

The new benefits will go into effect in July 2020 (making next Halloween a good time to get pregnant in the Garden State).

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Whether you just need to stock up on diapers or you've had your eye on a specific piece of baby gear, you might want to swing by your local Walmart this Saturday, February 23rd.

Walmart's big "Baby Savings Day" is happening from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at participating Walmarts (but more deals can be found online at Walmart.com already and the website deals are happening for the rest of the month).

About 3,000 of the 3,570 Supercenter locations are participating in the sale (check here to see if your local Walmart is).

The deals vary, but in general you can expect up to 30% off on items like cribs, strollers, car seats, wipes, diapers and formula.

Some items, like this Graco Modes 3 Lite Travel System have been marked down by more than $100. Other hot items include this Lille Baby Complete Carrier (It's usually $119, going for $99 during the sale) and the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat (for as low as $199).

So if you're in need of baby gear, you should check out this sale. Travel gear isn't the only category that's been marked down, there are some steep discounts on breast pumps, too.

Many of the Walmart locations will also be offering samples and expert demos of certain products on Saturday so it's worth checking out!

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Any Schumer has not had an easy pregnancy. She intended to keep working, but if you follow her on social media you know she's been very sick through each trimester.

And now in her final trimester she's had to cancel her tour due to hyperemesis gravidarum, also known as HG. It's a rare but very serious form of extreme morning sickness, and on Friday evening Schumer announced she is canceling the rest of her tour because of it.

“I vomit every time [I] ride in a car even for 5 minutes," Schumer explained in an Instagram post.

Due to the constant vomiting she's not cleared to fly and just can't continue to the tour.

This is not the first time Schumer has had to make an announcement about HG. Back in November, just weeks after announcing her pregnancy, she had to cancel shows and again broke the news via Instagram.

She posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed with her little dog Tati, and spelled out the details of her health issues in the caption. "I have hyperemesis and it blows," Schumer wrote.

Poor Amy. Hyperemesis gravidarum is really tough.

Kate Middleton, Ayesha Curry and Motherly co-founder Elizabeth Tenety are among those who, like Schumer, have suffered from this form of severe morning sickness that can be totally debilitating.

As she previously wrote for Motherly, Tenety remembers becoming desperately ill, being confined to her apartment (mostly her bed) and never being far from a trash can, "I lost 10% of my body weight. I became severely dehydrated. I couldn't work. I couldn't even get out of bed. I could barely talk on the phone to tell my doctor how sick I was—begging them to please give me something, anything—to help."

Thankfully, she found relief through a prescription for Zofran, an anti-nausea drug.

Schumer probably knows all about that drug. It looks she is getting the medical help she obviously needs, and she was totally right to cancel the tour in order to stay as healthy as possible.

We're glad to see Schumer is getting help, and totally understand why she would have to cancel her shows. Any mama who has been through HG will tell you, that wouldn't be a show you'd want front row seats for anyway.

Get well soon, Amy!

[A version of this post was published November 15, 2018. It has been updated.]

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As a military spouse, Cydney Cooper is used to doing things alone. But when she delivered her twin daughters early after complications due to Influenza A, she was missing her husband Skylar more than ever.

Recovering from the flu and an emergency C-section, and trying to parent the couple's two older boys and be with her new infant daughters in the NICU, Cydney was exhausted and scared and just wanted her husband who was deployed in Kuwait with the Army and wasn't expected home for weeks.

Alone in the NICU 12 days after giving birth, Cydney was texting an update on the twins to her husband when he walked through the door to shoulder some of the massive burden this mama was carrying.

"I was typing up their summary as best I could and trying to remember every detail to tell him when I looked up and saw him standing there. Shock, relief, and the feeling that everything was just alright hit me at once. I just finally let go," she explains in a statement to Motherly.

The moment was captured on video thanks to a family member who was in on Skylar's surprise and the reunion has now gone viral, having been viewed millions of times. It's an incredible moment for the couple who hadn't seen each other since Skylar had a three-day pass in seven months earlier.

Cydney had been caring for the couple's two boys and progressing in her pregnancy when, just over a week before the viral video was taken, she tested positive for Influenza A and went into preterm labor. "My husband was gone, my babies were early, I had the flu, and I was terrified," she tells Motherly.

"Over the next 48 hours they were able to stop my labor and I was discharged from the hospital. It only lasted two days and I went right back up and was in full on labor that was too far to stop."

Cydney needed an emergency C-section due to the babies' positioning, and her medical team could not allow anyone who had previously been around her into the operating room because anyone close to Cydney had been exposed to the flu.

"So I went in alone. The nurses and doctors were wonderful and held my hand through the entire thing but at the same time, I felt very very alone and scared. [Skylar] had been present for our first two and he was my rock and I didn't have him when I wanted him the most. But I did it! He was messaging me the second they wheeled me to recovery. Little did I know he was already working on being on his way."

When he found out his baby girls were coming early Skylar did everything he could to get home, and seeing him walk into the NICU is a moment Cydney will hold in her heart and her memory forever. "I had been having to hop back and forth from our sons to our daughters and felt guilty constantly because I couldn't be with all of them especially with their dad gone. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life and I won't be forgetting it."

It's so hard for a military spouse to do everything alone after a baby comes, and the military does recognize this. Just last month the Army doubled the amount of leave qualifying secondary caregivers (most often dads) can take after a birth or adoption, from 10 days to 21 so that moms like Cydney don't have to do it all alone.

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