How to Help Your Child With Transitions

January 15, 2020
How to Help Your Child With Transitions

Small changes in routine can be particularly difficult for some children. Read below for a few tips on making transitions easier for your child:

1. Create Predictable Routines

Routines that happen around the same time and in the same way each day reduce power struggles. Allow your child to anticipate what will happen next to give him a sense of control. For example, “I know you want a snack. Let’s put your toys away and then it will be time for snack.”

2. Give Your Child a Sense of Control Over Transitions

Involve your child in as many decisions or plans around the transition as you can so that he feels a little more in control. Ask him how he would like you to let him know when it’s getting close to the time. Discuss possible issues and brainstorm ways he to help him cope and to feel more in control (e.g., allowing him to turn off the television himself).

3. Use Verbal Cues

Use verbal cues before, during, and after transitions. For example, before: after you finish making the pizza, we will put the play dough away so we can go outside. During: time to put the play dough back in the containers so we can go outside! After: great job putting the play dough away. Now we can go outside!

4. Use a Positive Tone

A tone that sounds friendly, warm and positive (instead of demanding) conveys optimism that good things await and encourages cooperation. When your intensity goes up so does your child’s, causing adaptability to go down.

5. Be Consistent

Use the same words, timing methods and warning signals every time so that they become part of your child’s routine.

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