Children often demonstrate frustration when transitioning from one environment or activity to another for a multitude of reasons including:
Difficulty disengaging from current task
Difficulty switching attention to new task
Difficulty re-engaging to a new task
Difficulty adapting to sensory requirements of a new environment
Use these tips to help your child transition from one activity to the next:
Be clear on how long the activity will last:A transition will always include a starting and finishing point. By clearly defining that finishing point you help your child feel some control over his environment. Hello and goodbye songs and saying hello and goodbye to each toy/activity is a good way to mark start and finish points.
Let him know what is coming next: This helps him prepare himself instead of feeling abruptly pulled from whatever he is engaged in.
Consider preferred activities: When it comes to transitions, moving from a preferred activity to a non-preferred one can be particularly tough. If at all possible, design your child’s schedule to move in a pattern of non-preferred activities to preferred ones.
Use first/then visual supports: Try creating a “First…Then” to show your child that he must complete the task at hand before moving on to his preferred activity. You can create a visual schedule with pictures to let him know what his day looks like and which activities he has to accomplish. Use Velcro pictures, sticker charts, photographs of activities, get creative!
Use a transition object or toy: This can be a favorite stuffed bear or a comforting blanket that he can hold at the end of an activity before beginning the next.
Use sensory breaks: Going from one environment to the next or even simply switching tasks requires the body to take in new sensory information. Quick and easy sensory breaks are a fantastic way to help your child adjust.
For more information on how to transition your child without using a countdown, click here.