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3 Secrets to Getting Your Child to Transition From One Activity to Another

3 Secrets to Getting Your Child to Transition From One Activity to Another

    Have you ever told your child that it’s time to go somewhere or do something else and their response was either to ignore you or yell at you? There are ways to avoid this and make the transition from activity to activity easy and smooth.

    In order for your children to feel comfortable and cooperative moving from one activity to the next there are a few things you will need to do.

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    First, children need and love routine – no matter how old they are. If they experience the same basic sequence each and every day, they will simply expect and anticipate a change in activity. For example, if your basic routine with your toddler is to wake up, play, eat, watch TV, get dressed, go out somewhere, come home and eat lunch, go to sleep, wake up after 2 hours, have a snack, do a one-on-one activity with you, play alone for an hour, watch TV, eat dinner, brush teeth, then go to sleep, they will naturally move through their day with ease. They often will remind you when it’s time to go out if you are running a bit late.

    When I was a teacher I used to write our schedule for the day on the whiteboard and added short bits of information describing exactly what they needed to have ready. Our day always flowed smoothly and the children were calm knowing what to expect. If you have a child three years or older who tends to be a bit anxious or may have autistic tendencies this is a terrific way to help them feel calm and competent that they are able to handle their day. (For younger children, you could use pictures posted on poster board or the fridge instead)

    The second area to look at is the way in which you tell your child it’s time to move on to the next activity. Yelling from the other room is not a positive or effective way to handle this. A better way is to go to your child a little before you want to move on, sit with them, enter their world, and make a comment such as:

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    • “You sure like your trains, don’t you?” or
    • “What a neat idea you had to build a LEGO house like this” or
    • “I loved that book when I was young”

    Then say, in a very excited tone of voice:

    • “It’s time to get our shoes on to go to the __________(park,store,friend’s house,playgroup) Let’s go!”

    Extend your hand towards them or pick them up and give them a big hug then begin talking about where you’re going, who you’ll see, etcetera. This will keep them focused and will build excitement and cooperation.

    If your child whines, there are other issues going on like hunger, tiredness level, not being used to a routine or not being used to having limits set for them.

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    The technique I suggest for bedtime or leaving a playground is to use the countdown method. Go to your child and say, “Anna, you have 5 minutes and then it’s time for sleepy, sleepy, (or whatever words you want to use)” OR “Sam, you have 5 minutes and then it’s time to go home for lunch”.

    After this, go to them at 4 mins, 3 mins, 2 mins, 1 min, and then say, “Okay, time to go now.” or “Okay, time for sleepy, sleepy”.

    The last point I want to make about transitions is this: you must speak in a happy tone, yet a matter-of-fact tone as well. There is no room for soft voices here, no room for reminding and no room for explaining or coercing. You are just stating a fact in a happy voice about what it is that you ARE going to be doing.

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    Do your part by stating excitedly what you will be doing and then carry on. The only thing left to do is to enjoy the time you will be spending with your happy child.

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    Last Updated on January 2, 2019

    7 Steps For Making a New Year’s Resolution and Keeping It

    7 Steps For Making a New Year’s Resolution and Keeping It

    Are you keen to reinvent yourself this year? Or at least use the new year as a long overdue excuse to get rid of bad habits or pick up new ones?

    Yes, it’s that time of year again. The time of year when we feel as if we have to turn over a new leaf. The time when we misguidedly imagine that the arrival of a new year will magically provide the catalyst, motivation and persistence we need to reinvent ourselves.

    Traditionally, New Year’s Day is styled as the ideal time to kick start a new phase in your life and the time when you must make your all important new year’s resolution. Unfortunately, the beginning of the year is also one of the worst times to make a major change in your habits because it’s often a relatively stressful time, right in the middle of the party and vacation season.

    Don’t set yourself up for failure this year by vowing to make huge changes that will be hard to keep. Instead follow these seven steps for successfully making a new year’s resolution you can stick to for good.

    1. Just pick one thing

    If you want to change your life or your lifestyle don’t try to change the whole thing at once. It won’t work. Instead pick one area of your life to change to begin with.

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    Make it something concrete so you know exactly what change you’re planning to make. If you’re successful with the first change you can go ahead and make another change after a month or so. By making small changes one after the other, you still have the chance to be a whole new you at the end of the year and it’s a much more realistic way of doing it.

    Don’t pick a New Year’s resolution that’s bound to fail either, like running a marathon if you’re 40lbs overweight and get out of breath walking upstairs. If that’s the case resolve to walk every day. When you’ve got that habit down pat you can graduate to running in short bursts, constant running by March or April and a marathon at the end of the year. What’s the one habit you most want to change?

    2. Plan ahead

    To ensure success you need to research the change you’re making and plan ahead so you have the resources available when you need them. Here are a few things you should do to prepare and get all the systems in place ready to make your change.

    Read up on it – Go to the library and get books on the subject. Whether it’s quitting smoking, taking up running or yoga or becoming vegan there are books to help you prepare for it. Or use the Internet. If you do enough research you should even be looking forward to making the change.

    Plan for success – Get everything ready so things will run smoothly. If you’re taking up running make sure you have the trainers, clothes, hat, glasses, ipod loaded with energetic sounds at the ready. Then there can be no excuses.

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    3. Anticipate problems

    There will be problems so make a list of what they’ll be. If you think about it, you’ll be able to anticipate problems at certain times of the day, with specific people or in special situations. Once you’ve identified the times that will probably be hard work out ways to cope with them when they inevitably crop up.

    4. Pick a start date

    You don’t have to make these changes on New Year’s Day. That’s the conventional wisdom, but if you truly want to make changes then pick a day when you know you’ll be well-rested, enthusiastic and surrounded by positive people. I’ll be waiting until my kids go back to school in February.

    Sometimes picking a date doesn’t work. It’s better to wait until your whole mind and body are fully ready to take on the challenge. You’ll know when it is when the time comes.

    5. Go for it

    On the big day go for it 100%. Make a commitment and write it down on a card. You just need one short phrase you can carry in your wallet. Or keep it in your car, by your bed and on your bathroom mirror too for an extra dose of positive reinforcement.

    Your commitment card will say something like:

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    • I enjoy a clean, smoke-free life.
    • I stay calm and in control even under times of stress.
    • I’m committed to learning how to run my own business.
    • I meditate daily.

    6. Accept failure

    If you do fail and sneak a cigarette, miss a walk or shout at the kids one morning don’t hate yourself for it. Make a note of the triggers that caused this set back and vow to learn a lesson from them.

    If you know that alcohol makes you crave cigarettes and oversleep the next day cut back on it. If you know the morning rush before school makes you shout then get up earlier or prepare things the night before to make it easier on you.

    Perseverance is the key to success. Try again, keep trying and you will succeed.

    7. Plan rewards

    Small rewards are great encouragement to keep you going during the hardest first days. After that you can probably reward yourself once a week with a magazine, a long-distance call to a supportive friend, a siesta, a trip to the movies or whatever makes you tick.

    Later you can change the rewards to monthly and then at the end of the year you can pick an anniversary reward. Something that you’ll look forward to. You deserve it and you’ll have earned it.

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    Whatever your plans and goals are for this year, I’d do wish you luck with them but remember, it’s your life and you make your own luck.

    Decide what you want to do this year, plan how to get it and go for it. I’ll definitely be cheering you on.

    Are you planning to make a New Year’s resolution? What is it and is it something you’ve tried to do before or something new?

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