How to Smooth Transitions and Avoid Meltdowns

Turning off the TV, leaving the playground, giving back the iPad, or ending a play date — any of these may provoke a tantrum. Why? Many children with autism and ADHD have difficulty moving from one task to another, especially when they must stop an enjoyable activity. Behavior intervention strategies can help smooth the transitions. 

  1. Define Expectations 

Clearly identifying your objectives and setting attainable short- and long-term goals are the first steps to any behavior change plan. 

Let’s take the LEGO example. The expectation may be: When the time comes to shift to another activity, my child will comply when he is asked, without resisting, crying, shouting, or throwing things. 

  1. Create a Schedule 

A written or a visual schedule can help your child follow the order of events for a specific time period. But posting a schedule does not automatically mean your child will follow it. Checking off the events in a schedule should be accompanied by positive reinforcement. 

  1. Reinforcement 

Once you have thought of possible reinforcers for your child (you can create a visual depicting the reinforcers for your child to see), try simultaneously presenting the reward as the transition time is occurring, before your child can resist. Besides offering tangible items, positive reinforcement should also include behavior-specific vocal praise. 

If your child already starts to fuss when the announcement is made to start a new activity, don’t promise the reinforcer. It is very important that the engagement in a challenging behavior never results in receiving a pleasurable item or activity. Reinforcers should only follow desired behaviors. As transitions are consistently paired with reinforcement, the new desired behavior can become more of the “norm.” 

  1. Plan 

Prepare in advance to reap the benefits from your intervention plans. Know how you will present the transition, what items or activities will be effective reinforcers to motivate a successful transition, and how you will respond if your child does not go along with the shift in activity. 

  1. Give Choices When Possible 

Offer options to help your child with transitions. You might say, “Do you want me to help you clean up, or do you want to do it by yourself? It is almost time to leave for baseball practice,” “We are ready to finish TV time and have lunch.” It also helps to see things from your child’s perspective. If a game is just about to end, or there are three minutes left on his TV show, be flexible when possible. 

When a parent’s emotion run high, the child’s emotion will, too. Demonstrate the behaviors you want your children to engage in. Urging a child to “Come on, hurry! We are going to be late,” can have a negative effect. Stay calm and steady. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog 

8 Things to Try Before You Yell

What else would you add?⁣⁣ 
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Yelling is something many parents struggle with and wish they did less of. Why do we yell? Here are a few possible reasons:⁣⁣ 
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👉Old patterns⁣⁣ 
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👉Last resort⁣⁣ 
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👉Exhaustion⁣⁣ 
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👉Overwhelmed⁣⁣ 
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👉Unprocessed emotions⁣⁣ 
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If we are prone to yelling and our child is not responding, it’s possible they’ve developed a defense against it in order to protect themselves. If there is no imminent danger, before you yell pause & notice what you’re experiencing.⁣⁣ 
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Pausing may look like closing your eyes, taking an exaggerated deep breath (exhalation being longer than the inhalation), or walking away.  
 
“I see the drawing on the wall and I’m experiencing some big feelings, I need a break. I will be right back.”⁣⁣ 
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Then notice what you’re experiencing. ⁣⁣ 
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If you’re overwhelmed because your child has destroyed the room – that makes sense.⁣⁣ 
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If you’re angry because your children keep fighting – that makes sense.⁣⁣ 
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As we make sense of our own experiences we can return to our child and ask a question rather than yell. Or we may reflect on how we would have liked to have been approached when we were little in a similar situation.⁣⁣ 
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Remember to care for yourselves, even if it means three minutes of deep breathing in the morning while you sit alone in the bathroom!⁣⁣ 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog