Many children both typical and special needs have a problem moving on from one task to the next….. As this new year begins and we (including myself) have all these wonderful ideas and resolutions that will be introduced into our lives in 2010. We must also accept transitioning as a process. Here is my example, “In 2010, I would like to attend at least 3 yoga classes a week.” I do have the time to set this into place, I actually have a very flexible schedule to make this happen. Today January 13, I have attended 5 total. I had been really hard on myself, not waking up early (to leave my super warm and comfy bed!) or too tired and I’d already found an amazing parking spot at night. Both excuses help me fail my goal and no one wins…….. As I realized that going to yoga randomly- to- going to yoga to going three times a week, left me no transition time, this goal is not realistic. So on on a sidebar, if your goal is to stop smoking, eat healthy, go to the gym more etc. realize that transitioning is a part of reaching your goal, if you don’t accomplish your goal immediately and you “mess up” start again! Start slow! Relax! Give yourself a realistic time frame to accomplish your goal. Why not by next New Years Eve!
Children are not familiar and will not understand why they cannot reach their goals, they don’t even know what the goals are most of the time. Once we realize that they need to learn how to transition, just as we do, they will be able to use their tools to get to the next step. Many times clean-up presents behavior such as tantrum or a meltdown. We can ease this by using a egg timer. Set the timer WITH your child. Depending on the child, start with a 30 second time frame, let them hear the bell. Tell them what you expect of them when the bell rings. For the short time frame of 30 seconds, choose something that is very simple for the child. As the child gets accustomed to cleaning up at the bell, the time periods should be longer. Set realistic time frames for different playtimes. Use the bell for yourself, show and tell the child that you too are upset that this time period is over. “Oh! I wish I had more minutes, next time I will make sure I do______.” Give your child the language you want them to use, by USING IT YOURSELF. I can’t stress the importance of this. The main purpose of the bell is to show your child you are on the same team, its the bell that’s saying time is up, not you the caregiver, alleviating the parent is the enemy syndrome.
Good Luck and Happy Cleaning!