We’ve all tried to get our kids from point A to point B. It’s not always so simple. In fact sometimes you wish you had a pick up truck to scoop your kids up and transport them to their next lesson, activity or just out the door. This idea of going smoothly from one point to the next is better known as “transitions,” and we have a few tips to help your kids do so with ease.
1. Use timing to your advantage. Before you even consider transitions, make sure you are giving your kids ample warning and plenty of time to transition. “Five more minutes before we clean up and get ready to go to gym,” might be an example of a warning. I love Time Timer, which has a disappearing red disk to show how much time is left for an activity or for a transition to start. Kids can then actually see time elapsing, even if they can’t tell time.
2. Cool Down. In yoga this is the end of a class, usually the last 5 minutes or so, and gives your body a chance to transition before getting up to leave the class. For students, you may want to lower the lights, ask everyone to lower their voices or ring a soft bell or hum a kazoo to let them know it’s time to shift gears.
3. Move through the change. Movement helps with transitions. Have your kids “march” their way to line up, or “clap” their way to the hall. They can even “swim” through the air or “bear walk” to get their coats. Instead of standing around waiting, kids are actively engaging toward the next activity.
4. Weigh Down. Weight seems to really help kids move from one point to the next. For some it may be using a weighted vest, or others carrying a stack of books. Some may need to stack the chairs or others carry a weighted ball. The weight bearing down on their joints gets them ready for their next move.
5. Hold on. All you need is a long rope. Have each child hold onto the rope a foot apart. You can even mark the rope where they place their hands. Then use the rope to lead to the next activity.
6. Keep it simple. Not matter what, keep your directions, polite, clear and simple when it’s time to move on. You may want to hold up a simple sign that says “Time to Move.” You may also want to use transition words like Get ready, Now, In a minute, Finish up. Talk about what those words mean.