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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 September 10, 2019

    How to Master the Art of Prioritization

    How to Master the Art of Prioritization

    Do you know that prioritization is an art? It is an art that will lead you to success in whatever area that matters to you.

    By prioritization, I’m not talking so much about assigning tasks, but deciding which will take chronological priority in your day—figuring out which tasks you’ll do first, and which you’ll leave to last.

    Effective Prioritization

    There are two approaches to “prioritizing” the tasks in your to-do list that I see fairly often:

    Approach #1 Tackling the Biggest Tasks First and Getting Them out of the Way

    The idea is that by tackling them first, you deal with the pressure and anxiety that builds up and prevents you from getting anything done—whether we’re talking about big or small tasks. Leo Babauta is a proponent of this Big Rocks method.[1]

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    Approach #2 Tackling the Tasks You Can Get Done Quickly and Easily, with Minimal Effort

    Proponents of this method believe that by tackling the small fries first, you’ll have less noise distracting you from the periphery of your consciousness.

    If you believe in getting your email read and responded to, making phone calls and getting Google Reader zeroed before you dive into the high-yield work, you’re a proponent of this method. I suppose you could say Getting Things Done (GTD) encourages this sort of method, since the methodology advises followers to tackle tasks that can be completed within two minutes, right there and then.

    Figure out Your Approach for Prioritization

    My own approach is perhaps a mixture of the two.

    I’ll write out my daily task list and draw little priority stars next to the three items I need to get done that day. They don’t need to be big tasks, but nine times out of ten, they are.

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    Smaller tasks are rarely important enough to warrant a star in the first place; I can always get away without even checking my inbox until the next day if I’m swamped, and the people who need to get in touch with me super quickly know how.

    But I’m not recommending my system of prioritization to you. I’m also not saying that mine is better than Leo’s Big Rocks method, and I’m not saying it’s better than the “if it can be done quickly, do it first” method either.

    The thing with prioritization is that knowing when to do what relies very much on you and the way you work. Some people need to get some small work done to find a sense of accomplishment and clarity that allows them to focus on and tackle bigger items. Others need to deal with the big tasks or they’ll get caught up in the busywork of the day and never move on, especially when that Google Reader count just refuses to get zeroed (personally, I recommend the Mark All As Read button—I use it most days!).

    I’m in between, because my own patterns can be all over the place. Some days I will be ready to rip into massive projects at 7AM. Other times I’ll feel the need to zero every inbox I have and clean up the papers on my desk before I can focus on anything serious. I also know that my peak, efficient working time doesn’t come at 11AM or 3PM or some specific time like it does for many people, but I have several peaks divided by a few troughs. I can feel what’s coming on when and try to keep my schedule liquid enough that I can adapt.

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    That’s why I use a starred task list system rather than a scheduled task list. It allows me to trust myself (something that I suppose takes a certain amount of discipline) and achieve peak efficiency by blowing with the winds. If I fight the peaks and troughs, I’ll get less done; but if I do certain kinds of work in each period of the day as they come, I’ll get more done than most others in a similar line of work.

    You may not be able to trust yourself to that extent without falling into the busywork trap. You may not be able to tackle big tasks first thing in the morning without feeling like you’re pushing against an invisible brick wall that won’t budge. You might not be able to deal with small tasks before the big tasks without feeling pangs of guilt and urgency.

    My point is:

    The prioritization systems themselves don’t matter. They’re all pretty good for a group of people, not least of all to the people who espouse them because they use them and find them effective.

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    What matters is that you don’t fall for one set of dogma (and I’m not saying Leo Babauta or David Allen preach these things as dogma, but sometimes their proponents do) until you’ve tried the systems extensively, and found which method of chronological prioritization works for you.

    And if the system you already use works great, then there’s no need to bother trying others—in the world of personal productivity, it’s too easy to mess with something that works and find yourself unable to get back into your former groove.

    “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

    In truth, this principle applies to all sorts of personal productivity issues, though it’s important to know which issues it applies to.

    If you thought multitasking worked well for you each day and I’d have to contend that you are wrong—multitasking is a universal myth in my books! But if you find yourself prioritizing tasks that never get done, you might need to reconsider which of the above approaches you’re using and change to a system that is more personally effective.

    More About Prioritization & Time Management

    Featured photo credit: Sabri Tuzcu via unsplash.com

    Reference

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