Getting Kids from Point A to Point B - How to Make for Smoother Transitions
By Janice Wells

“Quick, in the car, we need to pick up your sister from soccer practice!”

“Hurry up, don’t dawdle, it’s time to go to school!”

Sound familiar? Hearing that it’s time to move on, your child may run off to snag a pair of sneakers or a jacket. But ten minutes later he is still there, changed into pirate’s gear and building a block castle.

What happened?

Even when kids want to participate in the next event, a short attention span and an intense interest in her surroundings can cause them to lose focus when making the transition from one situation to another, notes Rex Forehand, Ph.D., co-author of Parenting the Strong-Willed Child. Since preschoolers and toddlers generally understand “now” but not units of time in the future, such as “15 minutes from now,” they can appear to resist getting ready for future activities. Even school-age children have trouble meeting the hurry-up demands of a grown-up’s world.

“Adults move at a pace that isn’t always in synch with the rhythm of understanding that children use to focus in the here-and-now,” says Mimi Doe, author of Busy But Balanced: Practical and Inspirational Ways to Create a Calmer, Closer Family. Your son might be intently studying a spider’s web and attempting to draw what he sees right when you need to go somewhere. He naturally becomes less than enthusiastic when interrupted.

What you can do: The good news is that transition troubles can improve with parental help. Go to
What Parents Can Do to find out what you can do to achieve stress-free transitions throughout your day.

Janice Wells is a freelance writer and mother of two.