little girl cleaning up

Transitions seem like no big deal to an adult, but to young children, stopping a particular activity and moving on to the next one can feel very jarring. Young kids often have trouble moving from one activity to the next, both at home and at daycare. These five tips can help your child to handle transitions more calmly, and will make your day go much more smoothly!

Establish a routine 

Children thrive when they have a solid routine that they can depend on day after day. Knowing what to expect gives them a sense of security and helps them to transition from one activity to another. When they know that brushing teeth comes right after breakfast, they’re more likely to transition easily.

Try music

If you and your kids watch the PBS Kids show “Daniel Tiger”, you may have noticed that the show uses music to help kids to understand everyday concerns such as leaving and then reuniting with parents, or going to bed. Come up with a transition song that you and you kids can sing when it’s time to stop doing one activity and start another.

Implement a visual chart

Drawing up a chart with pictures that reflect each of the day’s activities, in proper order, can help your child as a reference tool. When your little one looks at the chart, she’ll see that cleaning up the table comes after dinnertime, and she’ll be better able to move on to the next activity.

Try a rewards system.

Is there a particular transition that your child balks at everyday? For some kids it’s bedtime, for others it is getting dressed. Whatever the sticking point is, try creating a sticker chart that will allow your child to place a sticker every time he handles a transition well.child brushing teeth


Giving your child a reminder in advance of a transition helps your child to prepare for that transition. If you are leaving the playground in five minutes or getting ready for bathtime in ten minutes, count down the minutes for your child.

What has helped your child to move from one activity to the next without melting down? Talk to your fellow parents about what has worked for your family in the comments section!