School has started. The hallways are full, the parking line is endless, and homework time just got real again. Most parents have gone into a school at some point and seen the child crying because someone wouldn’t play with her or the child laid out in the hallway because he did not want to go back to class after art, recess, or lunch. But what if you ARE that child or the TEACHER (or parent) of that child? How do you help? What do you do when throwing the child over your shoulder or dragging them by the feet isn’t really best practice?
I’ve spent a lot of time in schools. I enjoy spending time with parents and teachers trying to reach children who need a little extra support or who’s go with the flow is a beat off from the rest of the class. I’ve spent lots of time talking through and helping those kids who need that extra support, encouragement, or slight alteration in structure to fit into others’ groove.
The bottom line: We are all different and kids are in no way excluded from this. Some children simply do not transition well….or at all. That being said, there’s no magic formula to help children who don’t transition well to miraculously fall in step. However, I have a few tips for ideas that have helped me out with these spirited kiddos in the past: schedule, prepare, break, resume.
Schedule means simply as it sounds. If you make a schedule, write it on the class board, fridge at home, or paste it to the wall, then kids know not only what’s happening next but also when. This doesn’t mean that they don’t need to be reminded, so that’s where that prepare piece comes in. For kids who don’t do transitions, give them reminders, or warnings if you will (i.e. “Just remember we go to art at 10:30”; “It’s 10:15, everyone. Remember we go to art in 15 minutes, so get to a stopping place”). Before you make a big transition in the day, give kids the opportunity to get water/bathroom or do the break on the way back. Taking a break eases that transition and you know your kid(s) well enough to know whether that break fits better before, after, or both. Then resume. Go back to the normal schedule of things and allow for a child to ease back in if they need to.
Hang in there. Have some faith. Breathe in a little extra patience on THOSE days. Call a friend, fellow teacher, fellow parent, or call on a counselor if you need some extra support. You got this!