Tips for Tackling Transitions: A Guide for Parents

Welcome back to Making Everyday Magic! My name is Shanna, and if you’re new here, we are a homeschooling family of four. As we approach our eighth year of homeschooling with a seventh grader and a third grader, I want to share some insights that can benefit all parents, not just homeschoolers. Today, we’re diving into the often challenging topic of transitions.

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Tips For Tackling Transitions

 

Transitions can be tough, especially for young children. Whether it’s moving from one homeschool subject to another, switching from playtime to chores, or heading out for extracurricular activities, transitions can often lead to meltdowns, tantrums, and general fussiness. Here are ten strategies we use in our home to make transitions smoother and more manageable.

1. Get the Kids Involved in the Planning

Involve your kids in the planning process. Ask them what extracurricular activities they are interested in. If they are excited about what’s coming up, they will be more likely to transition smoothly. This doesn’t mean giving them full control, but offering choices within reasonable limits can make a big difference.

2. Talk It Through

Communicate with your children about upcoming events. As you fill out your family calendar, talk about what’s happening that month. Discuss the weekly schedule and review the next day’s plans each evening. This helps set expectations and reduces surprises.

 

3. Outline Plans for the Day

Each morning, let your kids know what the day’s plans are. Be specific, including what’s for dinner if you know. This helps them prepare mentally for what’s coming and reduces anxiety about the unknown.

 

Tips For Tackling Transitions

 

4. Write To-Do Lists

Encourage your kids to write their own to-do lists. This can be particularly helpful as they get older. Writing things down helps them internalize the plan and gives them a sense of control. Plus, checking off completed tasks can be very satisfying.

 

5. Dress for the Main Event

Have your kids dress for the main event of the day first thing in the morning. If they have a sports activity in the afternoon, get them into their sports attire early. This reduces one more step in the transition process and makes it easier to head out the door when it’s time to go.

 

6. Provide Constant Reminders

Remind your kids frequently about what’s coming next. Give them a heads-up at intervals leading up to the transition – an hour before, 30 minutes before, 10 minutes before, etc. This helps them mentally prepare for the change.

 

7. Set Benchmarks

Set clear benchmarks throughout the day. For example, tell them, “After lunch, we’re heading to the park,” or “Once you finish your homework, we’ll go to your friend’s house.” This gives them a clear timeline and helps them understand what to expect.

 

8. Use Countdowns

Countdowns are a great way to prepare kids for transitions. Give them regular time updates as the transition approaches. This can help them finish what they’re doing and get ready for the next activity.

 

Tips For Tackling Transitions

 

9. Set External Timers

Use external timers that your kids can set themselves. Whether it’s a kitchen timer or a smart home device, having them set the timer makes them feel involved and accountable. Plus, when the timer goes off, it’s not you interrupting them – it’s the timer.

 

10. Pull the Band-Aid Off

When it’s time to transition, be firm and decisive. If you’ve given all the warnings and reminders, it’s time to move on. Hesitation can lead to more resistance. Be clear and consistent, and your kids will learn to trust the routine.

 

Conclusion

Transitions can be challenging, but with a little planning and communication, you can make them smoother for your family. Remember, it’s normal for kids to struggle with change – their brains are still developing, and they need our help to manage their emotions. By involving them in planning, setting clear expectations, and being consistent, you can help them handle transitions more gracefully.

I hope you found these tips helpful! Be sure to subscribe to our monthly newsletter to be an insider and to follow along with our days over on Instagram @makingeverydaymagic. Thanks for reading, and happy transitioning!

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