Help Your Child With Transitions

by | Jan 6, 2020 | Family, Mental Health, School

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A timer can be useful for transitions.


Change can be difficult for children. It might be a small change like transitioning from dinner to bedtime or a big change like moving to another school.  Transitions happen everyday many times a day. Use the strategies below to help your child be successful with transitions. Help your child with transitions.

Transitions can be challenging for children. As a parent, all of us have experienced the moment when our child starts screaming and crying because they do not want to stop playing with a toy to have lunch. You feel helpless and are not sure how to help your child. Help your child with transitions with these strategies.

When your child is engrossed in a game or activity that they enjoy, it is hard for them to stop and shift their brain to do something else. 


The key to successful transitions is being prepared for each one. Then you can plan what strategies to use for each one so that your child is prepared to make the transition. The more preparation the better chance your child will be comfortable with the change.

Transition Strategies for Children:

1.  Have a calendar or schedule for your child each day so they know what to expect. Routine is important. Then when something changes utilize the calendar and schedule to show them what will be different and explain why it needs to change.  Some children benefit from a visual schedule so that they can see what is coming next.

2.  If the transition involves a certain amount of time then use a visual timer. For example if they have ten minutes to eat their snack then set the timer for 10 minutes. Show them or let them actually set the timer so they have ownership in their schedule. Once the timer goes off then they know it is time to go to the next activity.

3.  For some children having a special object or something they find comfort in helps them to transition. It might be a toy or stuffed animal that they take with them during the transition or to the next place. Sometimes the consistency of having an object helps them feel safe moving to the next activity.

4.  Another way to transition to another activity might be making it more of a game. You could skip or count how many steps it takes to get to the next activity. This might keep them focused on what is next rather than what they are doing at the time.

5.       Most importantly keep daily routines and be consistent with the activities planned for certain days and times. Children benefit from routine and a daily schedule. 

Making transitions for your child more positive will help them throughout their entire life. They will learn how to cope with changes throughout the day.  

These are a few ways to help your child have an easier time with transitions. These tools for you will create a more calm, successful day for your child. 

Share with us some of your experiences with transitions on our Facebook Group.



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