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Building Transition Bridges - 5 Steps

Have you noticed how transitions disrupt peace at home? Think about the times it's most challenging to keep your patience, or when you have the most power struggles. I'm guessing it's usually when you're trying to get your kiddo dressed for school, or to go to bed, or get off a screen. 

Transitions occur many times a day for your child - every time, in fact, they have to stop doing one thing to do another thing. These are transitions we can easily take for granted because we are used to them as just part of life. Children, however, have to learn regulation skills around transitions. You might have a kid that's more sensitive to the stress of transitions than some other kids and thus struggles more with their behavior at those times. 

This month there's a huge transition from school to summer vacation!

So today I want to talk about building transition bridges.

  • Sometimes just a plank is needed to get to the other side of a puddle.

  • Sometimes, a bigger bridge needs to be built that you can use again and again to cross a regular transition.

  • And sometimes, like school to summer, empathy, validation and patience are the needed tools...followed by predictability and routine!

5 Steps to Building Transition Bridges

1. Notice that here we go again feeling and ask yourself, Is this a transition?

2. Hit the brakes, not the gas. This helps regulate you (puts on your oxygen mask) and makes you available to help your child. i.e. pause the talking and breathe.

3. Provide agency and predictability. Give a 5 minute warning and help them complete their current activity. Then review the next transition steps. If it's a daily transition, create an age appropriate checklist or picture chart of the steps to give them something concrete and visual to refer to each day.

4. Engage the left brain. This helps regulate your child. For example - when transitioning from playtime to bedtime count the steps to your bedtime location (upstairs or to another part of the house.) Other left brain activities: play a word game, tell jokes, make up a story together taking turns. Other ideas?

5. Keep in mind Emotional Age. When your child is stressed, they regress. Notice if they start acting younger like an 8 yr old wanting help getting dressed or putting shoes on. Emotional Age Blog Posts.

Building transition bridges for your child decreases anxiety, increases regulation, decreases power struggles and increases peace and harmony. 

PS: If you haven't made a calendar yet, make your summer easier! Read this post !

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