I know most of us have been treading water throughout these crazy times. But I say, if your family is breathing, eating, and not bleeding, you’re doing a fantastic job. Especially given the circumstances. I would venture to say that most families, especially those with children, are in for more new journeys and transitions. It seems that schedules are constantly changing right now, especially considering many schools haven’t provided schedules yet.
In my work and in my village of fellow moms, the topic of transitions seems to be challenging. For many of us, change—although nowadays frequent and inevitable—is not easy. Here are some ideas to get through especially challenging transitions right now.
One way to help children cope with transitions is to visualize what is happening. It may help to create small pictures that coincide with the activities and routines that pertain to the child’s daily schedule. Allow your child to move and place pictures on the schedule. Talk with your child using “first/then” language to help them anticipate and transition between each activity. Share the ideas or provide a copy of the visual schedule to the child’s daytime caregiver as well. And use a timer when necessary with a two-minute warning and a verbal cue of the next activity in the routine.
I’ve learned in my many years of working with children and eventually having my own child, that books can be magical. Social stories are a way to assist children with navigating through challenging or different situations. You can create a picture book of the child’s daily environment and activities, friends, teachers, virtual learning classrooms, etc. It’s beneficial and easy to understand when short phrases are used. Create a book and place the pictures in the order of your child’s schedule. Review the book as often as possible with your child and change the pictures and words as your child’s schedule evolves.
I know my family heavily depends on our Google calendar and technology to keep us updated on our social lives and important events. While the pandemic has significantly decreased our use of this technological lifesaver and overall social calendar, I still find it helpful to use a weekly agenda. A small weekly agenda could be purchased at Target, Marshall’s, or TJ Maxx with large enough space to write down important events, meetings, virtual school lessons, etc. It’s also always fun to use various colored sharpie markers or pencils to differentiate between different types of appointments and/or important dates, allowing the kids to help write down events or cross off events that have passed.
What methods are you using to triumph through tough transitions right now? Share your ideas in the comments below.