Change, whether it’s big or small, can be difficult. For some children, unplanned changes or shifting attention away from a preferred activity can cause major meltdowns and behavioral challenges. Since children have less control of when it is time to go or where they are going, this makes them feel frustrated to have to stop something they are enjoying to engage in something less desired.
Transitions happen many times a day. Children are more equipped to move from activity to activity when they know it’s coming. With the right strategies and support, they will be more prepared to navigate transitions in their routine successfully.
Making Transitions Easier
- Increase the use of calming sensory input before the transition
- Provide controlled choices for non-preferred activities
- Use bubbles, songs, or movement activities as distractions during the transition
- Account for extra time in case the transition is difficult
- Bring along a transition object- this can be a special stuffed animal, blanket, or toy that can bring comfort as the child transitions from one location to another
- Verbally preview what they are about to expect
- Use visual aids, such as visual schedules and visual timers
- Offer a set number of turns with the activity and give multiple warnings of how much time is left