Understanding the triggers that make children upset at transitions, is the first step to managing them for both kids and adults. As we already know, transitions can be difficult for everyone. But for children with behavior problems, Autism, ADHD or Sensory Processing Difficulties transitioning can become very difficult to manage. So you need to help children with transitions. Children will moan, whine, stalling or display tantrums, as well as aggression. At times children often find it difficult to make transitions between activities, places, and objects of attention.
How parents can help children with transitions ?
Get the child’s attention:
This could mean more eye contact, sitting next to them, participate with them in different activities because it is important to make a connection with the child and be sure to give the child clear instructions face-to-face. We need a lot of patience – that is key.
Schedules can make a positive difference in a child’s behavior at home. Knowing what is coming next lessens anxiety because there is no uncertainty about what they are going to be doing. For example, bedtime routine might seem like something for babies but that can be helpful even for kids or adults.
For younger children, in particular, songs can be especially effective tools to help implement routines and ease transitions. It is highly recommended to use songs that suit a variety of situations from tying shoelaces or brushing teeth or cleaning up time.
Some kids may benefit from visual cues. Children who have difficulty understanding language
may respond better to pictures telling them what is expected, rather than verbal directions. For example, if you want the child to eat and then have a play activity, you can show them first/then pictures.
Let the child know that he/she can earn a privilege for following the rules. Privilege ideas include playing a favorite game once at home, watching a favorite show, going for a walk or going to the park, etc. When the child earns the privilege, praise him with a specific language. In the example above you could say: Nice work, well done, “High five”, make sure the privilege is something the child wants.
When children are comfortable in their transition, they will feel less anxious. Also, they will need fewer reminders from the adult about what is expected. Remember, some children may always need reminders to use the schedule, such as pointing to the schedule or walking them over to check the schedule.
Parents should keep in mind that modeling the expected behavior, providing reassurances and praising the child when the transition happens smoothly are important aspects of developing the skill of transitioning.