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SEL Series – Better Transitions

5 Strategies that Help with Transitions

When I visit our learning centers to conduct an observation, I pay close attention to how staff assist children with transitioning from activities.  Let’s face it, change is hard for adults but especially difficult for children. It is critical for staff to be able to transition students quickly and efficiently through tasks, activities, and locations.

This blog will provide transition strategies that will help prevent meltdowns, chaotic student resistance to institutions, and lower anxiety in children.

1. Provide consistency when developing new ways to help children transition and stick to the strategy to reinforce the new habit you aim to build with your students. 

2. Set a timer to help the students visually understand how long the activity will last. Also, give them verbal warnings to let them know that a change is approaching.

3. Teach transition songs; this strategy helps them to get ready for the next activity mentally. Choose your favorite tune or make one up on your own.

4. Adults must be present and keep track of time. Often staff becomes distracted, and lose track of time; it is hard to transition children too fast.

5. Praise great transitioning; too many times, we tend to focus on when things go wrong, but do not let the opportunity to be excited when transition goes smoothly.

 Children can learn to change gears without tension, with the right support, consistency, and praise.


Tiana Brown is the Assistant Director of the Norwalk Housing Authority Learning Centers


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