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Simple Ways To Ease Transitions

by Robin Goldstein-Lincoln

Transitions can be challenging. Whether moving from one activity to the next, going to or from school, or ending the day, children often experience some bumps in the road.

What makes transitions difficult?

Transitions involve separating from a person, activity or thing and thus can elicit a variety of feelings.

So before initiating a transition, take a few moments to get grounded. Children sense ambivalence, like dogs smell fear. Relax your body posture and take a few deep breaths. Your children will follow your lead. Then, try these ideas to ease the process.

Brainstorm a playful way to prompt the transition

*Use a special hand shake.

*Count to 5 in another language.

*Walk like your children’s favorite animal.

*Sing/dance to a favorite song.

Give advance notice

*Get close to your children and give a verbal and visual count down.

*Offer a choice: “Would you like to transition now or in 5 minutes?

*Set a visual timer. The time timer app is easy to install on your phone.

Preview the transition

This might sound like, "In 5 minutes we will be heading upstairs to get into pajamas, brush teeth, and read 2 books for your choice."

Create a visual reminder

Take pictures of your children doing each step of a desired transition routine.

Enlist their help in organizing and posting the pictures.

Use Transition Objects

Allow your children to carry a small and calming transition object.

Acknowledge and Re-direct

If your child protests the transition, briefly acknowledge your children's feelings and experience, then begin the transition as you re-direct their attention by:

*playing I Spy.

*identifying three sounds they can hear

*identifying three things they can see that are their favorite color

*identifying their top three favorite foods

As you experiment with these ideas you will discover which strategies resonate with you and your child. Then, you can collaborate with your child to create routines that work best.


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