Benefits of Routines & 10 Calming Techniques for Transitions

 In Director's Newsletter

The beginning of a new school year can be overwhelming for both kids and parents.  We want to ensure that we are setting our kids up for success for the coming year.  Creating routines helps give them a sense of security and can help them develop self-discipline.  Children’s fear of the unknown for better or worse are confronted with daily changes.  While this can become an opportunity for growth it can also be stressful.

New teachers and classmates come and go every year.  Your child can tackle and learn new skills and information at an astonishing pace, from reading and crossing the street to soccer and riding a bike.  Children, like the rest of us, handle change best if it is expected and occurs in the context of a familiar routine.  A predictable routine allows children to feel safe, and to develop a sense of ability in handling their lives.  The ability is then strengthened, which enables them to tackle larger changes.  Of course, many changes can’t be avoided but, that’s why we offer children a predictable routine as a foundation in their lives.  This gives them the chance to rise to the occasion to handle big changes when they need to.   Listed below are seven benefits of using routines with your kids:

  1. Routines eliminate power struggles.
  2. Routines help children cooperate.
  3. Routines help children learn to take charge of their own activities.
  4. Children learn the concept of “looking forward” to things they enjoy…
  5. Regular routines help children get on a schedule.
  6. Routines help parents build in those precious connection moments.
  7. Schedules help parents maintain consistency in expectations.

Often times we hear from parents that trying to get their child ready for the next activity can usually end in a power struggle between parent and child.  Working with children over the last 15 years you learn a few tricks of the trade.  Here are some of those tricks that you can add to your parenting “tool belt”.

  1. Make it clear how much longer the activity will last. Use a visual timer, countdowns, give warnings ahead of time.
  2. Make sure your child understands what is coming next. Use a picture schedule, alternate between preferred and non-preferred activities, stick to a schedule.
  3. Use a transition object. Allow your child to bring a toy along with them.
  4. Don’t rush it. Give lots of extra time to make transitions that are likely to be difficult for your child.
  5. Take a sensory break. When moving from one activity to another, try a movement break on a trampoline or play in a tactile bin, with resistance bands, or theraputty.
  6. Be prepared! Structure and consistency are key!  Organized materials and clearly defined spaces help too.
  7. Practice makes perfect. Use social stories and allow for many repeated practice trials.
  8. Make “wait” time less frustrating. Try songs, fidget toys, movement breaks, and timers.
  9. Practice the art of distraction. Try songs, bubbles, movement activities that will help the child move from point A to point B.
  10. Have a way of signaling that an activity is over. Turn off the lights, sing a specific song; make sure everything is cleaned up.

Why Kids need Routine
– Aha! Parenting

10 Calming Techniques & Transition Strategies for Kids
– The Inspired Treehouse

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

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