Transitions are a vital, but often overlooked, part of development for most parents. I know that when I talk to my other parent friends, the only time the term transition comes up is when we are talking about transitioning to one or no nap, or to daycare and school. But, those aren’t the transitions that I’m talking about.
What are transitions?
When physiotherapists talk about transitions, we are describing the movements between two positions. For example, going from sitting to crawling, or from sitting to standing.
Why am I talking about them?
The first reason is that they are often sadly overlooked!
We are so excited to see that next big milestone that our kiddos can achieve, that we don’t think about the middle bit!
The next reason is that in the last few years I have seen more and more children that have most of their milestones ‘checked off’, but can’t get there themselves. So, they can sit and stand, and perhaps walk (these kiddos typically don’t crawl), but their parents have to put them in those positions. In addition, the child often cries until the parent comes to move them into a different position.
The last reason is that the increase in Container Baby Syndrome (check out my last post, Container Babies) means that it can often be even harder for children to get to practice these transitions.
Why are they important?
Transitions are vitally important because they help build those building blocks for future skills.
Typically, a child has to achieve one skill, and work on the transition skills to then get to the next skill. The only real exception is sitting, as children learn to sit before they learn to get into sitting by themselves – us parents put them there!
These in-between movements also help to develop a childs protective reactions and balance reactions, which in turn makes the next skill easier!
Hopefully parents will have a greater appreciation for how important all those attempts and fails (and potential face plants) are. While a child is learning to get into and out of positions, opportunities for practice are promoted, which is so, so important – no matter how excited we are to see the next ‘milestone’!
If your child is unable to transition between positions, or they are doing the milestone ahead but can’t get there by themselves, please reach out to me if you are in the KW area, or contact your local paediatric physiotherapist for an assessment!