Transitions are hard for many kids. Simply ending one activity and beginning a new one can trigger meltdowns. Are you pulling your hair out because Timmy always cries and shrieks when playtime wraps up for snack time? No sweat! Take the stress out of transitions by implementing these easy strategies.
Pre-teach: When your goal is tantrum-free transitions, be sure to prepare Timmy for the next activity – or an event in the future – by pre-teaching what may happen. (This is called Priming.) For example, you can role-play what you’d like him to say or do when it’s time to turn off the TV and have a bath. Take Timmy through each step so he knows what to expect and show him how to appropriately behave. Make it fun! Also write and read social stories to help prepare him for what’s next.
Use a visual schedule: Tiana will be less likely to have a meltdown when she can see what’s next on her agenda. As such, create a daily schedule for her using pictures and words that she’ll understand. Try Choiceworks – it’s an app that allows you to design various schedules with visual and audio cues – because many kids find it motivating. If your child can read, simply write out the schedule on a piece of paper. Near and at every transition, point out the upcoming activity.
Give warnings: When colouring time is almost done, let Tiana know. Give her a 1-minute warning, count down from 10 and/or point out that there’s only 30 seconds left on the activity timer. Also, remind her of what’s next on her visual schedule.
When you’re working on tantrum-free transitions, remember to praise every appropriate action and reaction Tommy has to help ensure that his positive behaviour replaces the negative behaviour. And give us a shout any time if you need additional help with transitions!
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