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What is a transition? A transition is the process of changing from one activity to another.  For adults, transitions become second nature.  We move from work to home, the car to the house, and have various discussions with different people throughout the day.  Adults are able to cope with the fact that rain changes our ability to go outside.  Adults are able to understand that if the ice cream store is closed, it will reopen.

Adults are able to understand this, because we have executive functioning.  Our frontal lobes (the front part of our brain) are fully developed and able to provide us with long term planning, coping skills and higher levels of expression and thought.

Children, however, do not have this luxury. Frontal lobes do not fully develop until our mid-late 20s (early 30s in men.)  Therefore, as parents, you need to serve as their frontal lobe.  Parents need to provide the organization, coping skills and environment to help children transition from one event to another.

Try these tips for an easier transition:

  1. Utilize a visual calendar or daily routine to help your child understand what comes next in their day or week, discuss this with them the night before or at the beginning of each week
  2. Use a timer or reminder system to help your child prepare for the next step of their day. Tell them when one activity is ending (TV time) and what is coming next (bedtime.)
  3. Verbally prepare your child when the schedule or routine is different. Discuss what the event will look like, as well as behavior expectations.

Utilizing these techniques will help your child develop appropriate coping techniques for transition, and limit meltdowns triggered by change.

Let me know how you’re doing.  Contact me for a family consultation.

Katie Gately
The Behaved Brain
Healthier Kids – Happier Parent