Goodness knows that my older son is a schedule-kid. He thrives on routine and repetitiveness. He also has a tough time handling transitions or change, typically when he isn’t prepared for them. Here are some tips we use to make transitions easier.
- Time is on your side – I always prepare my son for a change by letting him know it is coming in a matter of time. For instance, I may tell him that we are leaving the house in four minutes to go to school, and he knows that he needs to be getting ready. I sometimes have to give him a countdown (three minutes, two minutes, etc), especially if he is really involved in something else. However, he has enough sense of time to understand the concept.
- Routines really work – by keeping our routine each morning and evening relatively the same, we eliminate many of the factors that could lead to a breakdown. My son knows the “order” of the morning: breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, comb hair, etc. Even during the summer, we try to stick with the routine to simply make our day start out on a good note.
- Put some fun in the task at hand – with my younger son, we hold lots of “races” – races to brush our teeth, races to pick up the trains, races to get dressed. He loves to do anything that resembles a game, so making it something simple yet fun is so much better than simply putting the toys away.
- No room for backtalk – arguing about a transition or a task is simply not allowed in our house, and that goes for adults as well as children. When the arguing begins, I simply state, “You have two choices: do what I asked you to do or sit in that chair for three minutes to get ready to do what I asked you to do. Which would you like to do?” My child still has a choice, but in the end, he will complete the task!