Written by: Shira Danino, M.A., CCC-SLP
Home for the holidays with a child who has trouble transitioning? Transitions can be real triggers for many children. Ending a video game or a sport can be a drag when your parent asks you to take a bath or throw out the garbage. However, they can be particularly difficult for kids with emotional and developmental issues.
Holiday season means a lot of things to all of us. It can be reuniting with family, endless holiday dinners, too much dessert, holiday light festivities, cheerful music, and days off from school. Kids at home all day. Schedules and routines disrupted can mean transition trouble for your little one. If you have a child who sticks to routine and loves a good schedule, a few days at home can throw you and your family for a loop. Here are some tips to help your child with Autism, ADHD, anxiety, and sensory processing issues to swiftly adapt to a schedule change over the holiday season.
- Create a visual schedule for the day. Take the time to draw little pictures of mealtimes, TV time, trips, time outside, indoor play time, arts and crafts, bathtime, and bedtime. This way, your child knows she has a place to go to in order to see what’s coming next. Even better, she gets to see her plan for the day once she wakes up and knows there’s a schedule in place.
- Give a warning before asking your child to switch activities. This warning can be verbal, visual, or both. A lot of parents announce “clean up time” when it’s time to clean up. This can be a shock to kids and feels to come out of nowhere. Give them a 1-2 minute warning so they can prepare themselves for a change.
- Use a transition item. Allow your child to bring an item from the previous activity to the next. For example, if you’re leaving the house and your child is playing with her dolls, allow her to bring one doll into the car with her.
- Use a visual timer. Some kiddos are too young to understand a timer with numbers, but there are plenty of visual timers on your smartphone that can show your child how much time is left. Check out Visual Countdown Timer, Time Timer, Fun Timer for Parents, and Fun Emoji Timer in the Apple App Store.
- Believe in your child. Your child can do it! With your help, our little buddies can be so successful!