Transitions are difficult.
As an adult, I still have issues with transitions. If I’m deep into writing, I don’t want to drop it to turn around and answer questions. Or answer the phone. Or do anything else.
While enjoying a good book, I’ve been known to turn and snarl at people when interrupted. Okay, I’m not that bad, but they usually back away pretty quickly.
Imagine then, how it is for our AS children. For the difficulty involved in changing gears from one activity to another. A moment or two after they stop one activity, their brains are lighting up and functioning as though they’re still performing that activity.
It’s not a matter of choice. It’s not that they don’t want to stop; it’s that they literally can’t turn around on a dime to do something else.
I’ll never forget an afternoon I spent with my friend Stephanie, who had her hands full with four boys. We were at a park – the kids were all young – and were talking while the boys ran around and had fun. Sadly, our time was almost up.
She called out, “five minutes, boys!” We chatted for a bit. Then, “Two more minutes!”
Now, more than seven minutes had passed. A lot more. Puzzled, I asked her about it. She laughed and said they didn’t keep track of time, they just needed the warning.
I love that tip, and use it all the time.
A bit of warning can make a bit difference. Especially if it doesn’t call for much of a response beyond a nod, wave, or OK. A bit of warning can help ease the transition from one activity to another. After all, don’t we like some warning, too?
Once, at a zoo field trip, I saw an amazing mother entertaining some of the other pre-schoolers. I wish I could remember her name now, but it’s left my mind. In any case, she was playing Freeze with the kids.
They loved it.
And what a good game to practice anticipation and transition! Plus, awareness needs to really be up and running, to catch that “Freeze!”
Transitions can be challenging for everyone. That goes twice over for our AS loved ones. Doesn’t it make sense to give a little warning? To play Freeze games? To give them a little slack when it comes to changing from one activity to another?
Right now, I’m preparing to transition. To go from here to opening the door for the AC repairman. It’s got my mind divided in half, and I’m barely able to focus on…
Note: If it sounds like I’m surrounded by experts on children, it’s true, in a way; I’ve learned more from watching other mothers – and fathers! – and absorbing their cleverness than by any other means.