I’m sure you can all relate how challenging this can be with our kids.
Getting in the car to go somewhere… especially those things not planned.
Going back to school after a break.
Your child gets a new teacher or para professional.
Scheduled to go to the beach and it rains.
The technology suddenly stops working.
What are some solutions or strategies to help our kids then?
I know when Charlie was younger (still working on this) we would have to take his older sister to school or church activities and sometimes they would be last minute. We would have to try and get him in the car and many times he would have a full on meltdown not wanting to get in the car. Many times my daughter either missed her activity or she would be late. I was torn in two ways: 1) frustrated I wasn’t able to help my son and 2) frustrated my daughter was missing out and had to deal with this.
I have always used FIRST _____ THEN _______ language to help with transitions and changes especially if they are wanting a certain reinforcer. This helps them to know what needs to get done first then they can earn something. For years I have used the “warning language”. I give Charlie a heads up what is coming, sometimes even a day or two before, sometimes a week before depending on the activity. For instance, almost every Saturday for years I will say, “Charlie tomorrow is church in the morning”. If I don’t say anything and just wake him up Sunday morning he struggles much more.
Another thing we have done in our family is “set up” mock changes. Set up a time you can say you are doing one thing and then change it to help work on them self -regulating and tolerating change. Give them reinforcement when they tolerate the change calmly.
We just started a brand new year and with that comes a big transition back to school after being off a couple weeks. I try and let the first full week be a real break and then as the second week winds down start getting him to bed school day time and giving him a little bit of work to get used to the change in structure.
We all know patience from us is key. Easy to say, but hard to do I know.
James 5:7 says, “Be patient, therefore, brethren until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.”
YOU can do it!
Prepare for the transitions.
Give them strategies to calm down when feeling anxious about the changes.
Love them, love them, and love them as we teach them appropriate ways to tolerate change and transition.