Posted on 11/26/2018 at 03:50 PM by Blog Experts

There is always the possibility daily of the changing of a routine just because that is the way life happens. Sometimes we have a last minute change due to illness or some other event and sometimes we decide that a change would be needed in order to accommodate an upcoming visitor or other event. Change is not a bad thing as it often helps us develop new skills or new ideas, but the struggle is that we are used to something happening in a certain way and each of use needs some time to adapt to that “change”. As difficult as change can be for us as adults, it is often even more difficult for children as they do not have the understanding of how and why the changes are occurring. Because of this, it becomes even more important for teachers and parents to do a little “planning ahead” so that changing events run a little smoother for everyone. What are some tips to remember, no matter what the change?

First and foremost, always talk about what is happening so if and when those situations arise when there is no prep time for working through the change, a conversation can used more easily because everyone is familiar with what needs to happen. With young children, make simple points, but use some predictable and consistent words and initially pair them with the visual cues so it helps with the meaning of the concept. An example could be, “We are going to go to the store to get the things on our list, then we will …”

Next, use visual whenever possible and make a set of small pictures that be easily carried to different places for easier use. There are some pre-made cue cards for solving problems or visual prompts of what is going to happen (eat, go outside, etc.), but additional pictures can be added that relate specific to the situation with individual children. Last, be consistent and include families and others (building staff, etc.) who have contact with the child or children. Some other considerations:

-look at previous pictures of the event or activity and talk about what might or will happen.

-when possible, allow the child to assist with some of the routine expectations, such as what can we do after we do this??

-use positive statements to help ease the possible changes that will occur, such as “you are appearing so ready for the …?”

-five some warning that a change may be occurring and as you know the child, you will be more aware of what needs to be done to help the child transition to new situations and how early to start the conversation. 

-plan and allow for “wait time” or “think time” which helps someone get a moment to process and act.

Transitions and change are not easy for most of us, but keep working on different ways to encourage the ongoing options to make it less difficult and/or more tolerant. 

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