Transitioning between activities can be difficult for any person of any age. It can be especially challenging to change gears when going from a fun activity to less preferred activity. Here are some strategies to help smooth over those sticky transitions.
- Use a visual or written schedule- Using a visual or a written schedule helps your child know what to expect and be able to anticipate what activity is coming next, eliminating the “element of surprise.”
- Set a timer or do a countdown- Using a timer or doing a countdown makes the transition less jarring. This allows your child to wind down and savor the last few moments of the activity and prepare themselves mentally to switch to something new.
- Utilize “first, then” statement- Using “first, then” statements helps your child to understand that even though they need to complete a less preferred activity right now, there is something more fun right around the corner.
- Try a transition item- Try helping to ease your child’s transitions with the use of a transition item. Sensory toys that your child enjoys can make a transition item, such as squishy fidgets, koosh balls, pop tubes, or a soft stuffed animal.
- Make transitions fun- For young children, you can have a transition song, such as singing the “Clean Up” song when it is time to put the toys away and start something new. Try hopping, skipping, bear crawling, or riding a scooter during transitions.
Written by Elizabeth Horsch, COTAL