Shifting How we Manage Challenging Behaviors: Try Rethinking Transitions
Transitions can be challenging in early learning environments. As mentioned in the section on looking at behavior in a new light, children are still developing mental flexibility. Shifting gears, especially at a fast pace, can be more challenging for some children than for others. With this in mind, take time to reflect on the following periods of the daily routine from previous years and determine whether any adjustments could be beneficial.
Arrival: Consider the overall mood of the morning arrival:
- Does arrival time set a calm and welcoming tone for the day?
- Do children have the chance to slowly join the group at their own pace?
- Do the activities offered align with children’s morning dispositions?
- How does the transition from arrival to the next activity feel? Is it rushed? Do most children seem to move on with the day?
- What adjustments could be made to this part of the routine?
Lunch/rest transition: Reflect on this busy time of day:
- Do children have enough time to eat without being rushed? Are staff members rushing through transitions due to break schedules?
- What signals are used to help children shift from active time to quiet time? Could soft music be played during the meal? Is there a way to dim the lights or turn off overhead lights if there is enough natural light in the room? Do adults lower the volume of their voices and initiate calming conversations during lunch?
- How many steps of the transition exist between finishing the meal and laying down? Is there a way to decrease this number? Or is there a way to stretch the time between finishing the meal and laying down, so that children have time to move through the busy transition?
- Does the tone of the transition set children up for success, meaning they are calm and ready for rest?
- Would adding 5-10 minutes to either end of this transition make a difference? Work with colleagues to adjust the schedule accordingly, including when meals are served.
Continue to reflect on your experience with routines and transitions. Ask questions like the ones shared above, talk to coworkers, and discuss options with members of leadership. Consider how the children react during transitions.
Unfortunately, children are not going to magically move through transitions smoothly overnight, and rushing them rarely helps. Remember – they are still working on the skills that help them shift their focus and attention from one activity to another. They need support to strengthen these skills and sometimes they just need extra time to be successful.
For the main article Shifting How we Manage Challenging Behaviors, CLICK HERE
For the article Try Viewing Behavior in a New Light, CLICK HERE
For the article Try Taking a Proactive Approach, CLICK HERE
For the article Try Creating Consistency between Home & School, CLICK HERE