Guest Post by Carolynn of My Little Bit of Life
What are transitions?
Transitions are the little pieces of time when changing from one activity to another.
As adults, we often know how much time we have to complete an activity. We know that we will need to leave in five minutes or that dinner will be ready in fifteen minutes. We can then decide how best to use the time to prepare for the next activity.
Children do not naturally have this luxury.
I don’t know about you, but I like to know how long I have to complete a task. I can prepare myself mentally when I know. It can be very hard to stop something when you are right in the middle of it. When this happens, I tend to get aggravated and not in the best of moods.
Why do we think children are any different? They aren’t.
Most children function better when they know about how long they have to enjoy an activity, even if they can’t tell time!
How can you prepare your children for transitions?
- before the activity begins, tell them how much time they will have (if they are too young to tell time yet, tell them the time limit and then another activity that is usually about the same amount of time and/or set a visual timer) (Example: “You have thirty minutes to play outside, that is about as long as it takes to watch Word World.”)
- give reminders often (you have 15 more minutes, etc.)
- tell your children that they have five more minutes until they need to clean up, get ready etc. (this is very important, give them a warning BEFORE they have to stop)
- when you are giving your children their “5 Minute Warning” include what they will do next (“You have 5 more minutes to play, then pick up time, then dinner time.”)
Following these steps keeps your children informed and makes them responsible. It also teaches good time management and time estimation skills.
Carolynn was a preschool teacher for five years with an Elementary Education and Early Childhood degree. She is now a Stay at Home Mom to 4 children: 6, 5, 3, and 20 month old. She blogs about parenting and life at www.mylittlebitoflife.com.