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Easing Transitions

Have you ever been trying to get your child or children to transition from one thing to another, say playtime to bed, and it results in tears or a tantrum? Don’t worry we’ve all been there! In this blog, we will discuss some ways you can help make transitions easier for yourself and your children but first, we must understand what a transition is.

A transition means wrapping up one activity and beginning another. Take a second and think about the number of times that happens to your child throughout the day. It’s probably a lot! Between school or childcare, mealtimes, playtimes, or grocery shopping, transitions are always happening.

So, what can we do to make these transitions easier for both our children and ourselves? Here are some tips and tricks to help make transitions easier for you and your child:


Warning your child when a change is coming can help them prepare for the change and what is happening next. This might sound like: “Ok, in 5 minutes we are going to put away the toys and get ready for bed,” or “Ok you can go down the slide 3 more times and then it is time to leave the park.”

Make it fun!

Turn a transition into a game! This might be racing to see who can pick up the most toys in two minutes or who can put on their shoes first. Turning something that might not be fun into a game will make the transition a more positive experience for both of you!


Visuals can be a great tool for you and your child to use when moving from one activity to another. You might use the timer on a microwave or cellphone to show that there are two minutes left of the activity or create a visual schedule for your child to refer back to, so they know what to expect and what is happening next.


Some transitions are necessary and unavoidable, like going to bed or mealtimes. One effective tool you can try with your child is giving them choices. Would they like to wear the red pajamas or the blue pajamas tonight? Would they like the pink plate or the blue bowl for dinner? Providing your child with choices gives them a sense of empowerment and control and can make it easier for your child to cope with a transition. Just make sure when you give a choice the choices you provide your child are possible and achievable.

Prepare, prepare, prepare!

When gearing up for a transition, talk with your child! Let them know what is happening, when it is happening and what to expect. This might be you saying “I am going to drop you off at daycare and go to work. I will come back to get you around 4:00.” Similar to using a warning, preparing your child for the transitions by letting them know what will happen next and when will help them prepare themselves for it. The transitions where you and your child are separating can be the most difficult for them however, one way you might make these types of transitions easier is by having a special handshake to say goodbye or practicing these transitions at home in a fun way. While these transitions might be the hardest for both you and your child, remember that you are both strong and capable and that they will get easier with time!

These are just a few tools for your toolbox, every child, family and situation might be different so tweak these tips and tricks to best support your child and family.

Norwood Center offers one-on-one coaching that can support both you and your child with transitions. If you would like to learn more call 780-471-3737 or visit our website.



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