Monday, September 2, 2013

Need a Parenting Win? Master Transitions.

Any time we ask a kid to move from one activity to the next, it's a transition.

When we change their daily schedule from summer to back to school, it's a major transition!

It's easy to think we are asking for trouble. It doesn't have to be complicated.  Tears, tantrums, or hair-pulling don't have to be the status quo.
Telling kids that a change in schedule is coming up sets them up for success.

Reminding kids periodically eliminates the suddenness of change and give kids a sense of control.

Anytime a child knows what's expected of him or her beforehand, it increases the likelihood that the child will meet expectations.

Not all transitions are created equal.  Changes to schedule and daily life will require earlier reminders and they will need to be more frequent.

Some parents think that managing transitions this way is babying them or enabling them too much.

I disagree. This is how we teach kids time management! It breaks this complicated skill down into manageable steps.

Typically, younger kids need reminders to start a half-hour before an activity change. A second reminder should be added 15 minutes later with the 3rd and final reminder coming in the last 5 minutes.

I don't expect older kids (3rd grade and up) to need as much time. A 15 minute and 5 minute reminder is sufficient unless you have a child with attention difficulties and then you both might benefit from more reminders.

Once you have given the time reminders, be sure to include rules for cleaning up. They should also know what you expect from them in the next activity.

Never replace reminders with accountability! Reminders set your kids up to know what's next.

Sometimes, despite reminders, kids won't listen.  Consider reminders their "warning" and respond with a swift consequence if they don't follow your directions when it's time to move on.

Back to School time is filled with new transitions.  If you're stuck or overwhelmed, I know I can help.


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