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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've been having a tough time with DD lately. I've noticed that mostly it's during transitions. From playing to bed time routine. Leaving her cousins' house to go home. Getting out of bed in the morning. Etc.

What are some things you do to help your preschool-aged kids with transitions?
 

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Hi!! I take care of a five year old and how I handle transitions is by telling her in advance what we are going to do and say two more minutes or after she finishes what she is working on. I try to be very consistent and follow through. When she was younger and sometimes did not listen after I gave her a few warnings, I would pick her up and move her. Luckily, I rarely do that now and usually children prefer to do things themselves without help from a parent.

Another idea is to make a visual chart with pictures. This will help her predict what is happening and prepare her for the next step. If you were going to do a chart for bedtime you could include pictures followed by words of the steps such as putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, and reading stories. You can show her the chart and remind her what she is going to do next.

Also when possible it is helpful to make transitions fun. You can find different colored toys to clean up, having her pick out clothes to wear in the morning or help with preparing breakfast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for the reply! I do almost always give her a warning of 3 and then 1 minutes, but she still has problems most times. I'm currently working on the visual charts for routines that I've recently established. The routines themselves seem to be helping already, but I know that a visual aid would help even more.

I didn't think about making the transitions a game. Thank you for the idea! I'll have to try to remember that one! Hmmm....
 

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Preschoolers don't have a great concept of time, so "3 minutes" and "1 minute" don't mean a whole lot to them. Though when my brother was little and we were drinving to the grandparents' (3 hours away), Mom would tell him that the trip would take 2 Sesame Streets and 2 Lucys (that was when "I Love Lucy" was on TV). Those were time frames he could relate to.

Telling them what's going to happen next seemed to work better for us, and giving deadlines in a different way. For example, at the playground I'd say "You can go down the slide 5 more times, then we'll go home". I tried to make it a big enough number (never 1) so they would be getting a little tired of it by the time the number was reached. It was also a good opportunity to practice counting! I was more than willing to "give in" if they asked for 7 more times - but the time for negotiation is at the beginning, not when you've reached the set number, and they wanted more.

For leaving someone's house, you could give her X number of times doing whatever they are doing, or suggest an activity, such as "run around the house 4 times". I can't think of a good one for getting out of bed - maybe put a CD player in her room, and let her listen to 3 songs before she gets up?
 

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as nd deadhead states, i give my son a quantity that he can understand. or, an action he can do.

for example, yesterday there was a transition from morning tea to going outside, but in the past, it was staying inside to play. so, he'd already gotten his favorite toys together, and started playing.

so, i went over to him and I said "I see you have found your favorite toys. But, right now, it's time to go outside and build the bridge. Why don't we put these toys in a secret place, and then when you come back in for play time, you can find them?" then we take a few minutes to "hide" these toys (making sure that the teacher who will remain indoors with the little ones knows where to put them when our turn to come in is), and then he's perfectly happy to go out.

without this process -- an explaination of what was next AND an action of what he could do now and what he could return to later -- he would just tantrum out, you know?

It really helped just to be clear about how it all goes. Right now, we're in a transitional period -- moved into a new place, DH and I have different work schedules, changing out of playgroup and into another care arrangement when we are both working (which is new for us, and will be our first time as a family doing that) -- so he's asking a lot of questions. I try to give him a sense of what is happening on a given day, to help ease the process for him. he's doing well, overall. :)
 

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I agree about using a quantity he can really understand, something very tangible.

Also, I found it helps to talk about where we're going to, instead of what we're ending. "Time to go home now" works better than "Time to leave." Getting the image of what's coming up instead of reminding them of the thing they want to keep doing but have to stop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you!! I do often use things like "3 more times down the slide" or "2 more pages," Sometimes it works, and sometimes when we get to the end, she freaks out even with the warnings. I know that it's probably still pretty age-appropriate though, so... But yeah, I'll have to make sure that I do that every time instead of using minutes.

"For leaving someone's house, you could give her X number of times doing whatever they are doing, or suggest an activity, such as "run around the house 4 times". I can't think of a good one for getting out of bed - maybe put a CD player in her room, and let her listen to 3 songs before she gets up?"

Thanks for this especially. Maybe we could sing a certain number of songs before getting out of bed. She loves staying in bed because we cuddle. Which is great, but we can't cuddle all day, yk?
smile.gif
 

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this won't help for all your situations, but two things that have helped me:

Leaving 10 minutes before I thought we needed to. If I leave when my child is showing signs that they're tired, then they no longer have the energy for the transition. I learned that lesson yet again on Tuesday night with our 7 year old. We SHOULD have left the end of the school picnic at 7:40. We left at 8 pm. Dd had a major meltdown when we got home.

The kitchen timer. If I had one parenting tool that I would never be without, it'd be the kitchen timer. It is a 'neutral' third party, so when the timer beeps, time is up. Setting also means that my kids automatically got a warning. "When the timer beeps, it'll be time to put on pajamas." "OK, the timer beeped, finish up and let's go get pjs on." My kids are older now and we still use the timer, more as a reminder than anything else. And they've started using it on me. My kids have each set it for me in the last 2 days when I've said "Give me 15 minutes to digest my dinner/drink me tea, and I'll do that with you." "OK, I'll set the timer." (They're wise to the fact that my "15 minutes" can stretch to 30 if they're not careful!)

I have to say that the 5-3-1 minute warnings worked well for me. No, my kids didn't have any sense of the time, but it was the warning itself, and the repetition that helped. And I could 'stretch' those minutes if I realized they needed a little more time. So, we'd do '5 minutes', then '3 minutes' and when I got to '1 minute' then I'd say "do you want go down the slide or the fire pole before we leave?" "Read one more page and then we need to go." The combination of repeated warnings with a concrete "x and then we go" helped.
 
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