We’ve all been there: While rushing to make it in time for that playdate, appointment or last-minute trip to Target, the dreaded transition tantrum takes hold. Holidays can make this extra hard, with school schedules changing and nap time going awry; sometimes it’s just too much for our little ones.
Changing activities and environments can be difficult, and neurodivergent children may face additional struggles with this. However, with a few proactive steps, we can help ease the stress of transitions.
1. Provide a visual schedule: I’m lost without my phone’s calendar, so it’s no surprise that kids do best when provided with a schedule as well. A visual schedule can be as simple or as detailed as you would like. Simply list out the activities that your child will be participating in, and add a picture if needed for visual learners or early readers. Take a few minutes to review the schedule with your child once or twice daily to ensure success.
2. Transition warnings: We all need a little reminder — and some of us need a lot! Providing a verbal reminder for your children will help get them ready for a transition. The more time you can provide, the better. I like to start reminders for my kids an hour before we leave the house or our next big activity, and every 15 minutes after that. If I’m also trying to get ready, I ask my Alexa to do these for me.
3. Be patient and flexible: I remind myself that it’s hard o be a kid and have little control over what activities are planned for the day. Adding some extra time in the schedule for big feelings is important, and an extra five minutes to finish up that super cool coloring page never hurt either.
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