Tools for Smooth Schedule Management
While transitions can often be a struggle for children, and especially those who are highly sensitive, highly emotional, intense, or challenging, it may be helpful to use visual, auditory, or timed reminders to help bridge the gap and ease the transition. You might find the following tools helpful in easing the transition between activities, environments, caregivers, and more:
- Visual Cues
- Visual Timers
- Graphics Schedule
- Individual Charts
- Family Huddle Form (template)
Making Transitions Fun and Engaging to Foster Cooperation
Knowing your child’s personality style can help you be more effective in engaging or motivating them. If your child is a fun-loving, excitable child, you may need to make a game of transitioning or the steps to make it happen. If your child functions best with details and a plan, you may need to talk ahead of time about how things will unfold and what you will do along the way. If your child is easily overwhelmed and worn out, you might need to keep the expectations low, and words minimal. And if your child works best with some control, you may need to offer choices to get them involved in the process with some level of healthy buy-in!
One of my favorite tools for transitions:
Depending on the amount of time your child or the situation might warrant, you can change this to fit. But let’s pretend you are at the park and you know you want to leave by 3:00. At 2:45, I’d encourage you to ask your child, “How much time do you need to get ready?” They will probably look at you and say, “I don’t know,” or a number of minutes. It will likely be less than 15. (Why? Because we don’t usually give them 20 minute warnings! LOL!) You can say would 5 or 10 minutes be enough or do you need more? At this point they may likely feel sad that 5 isn’t long enough. However when they say 10 or 15, you have that to give and no more. They are happy, and you can be happy. They are part of the plan, and I can almost assure you that they will have a much higher level of cooperation than if you had just said 5 minutes and expected them to stop.
This conversation is what I like to call prepping their brain. We are getting their thinking in place to start shifting the gears to start flexing and adjusting. It primes their brain to cooperate and adjust to the transition better!