LifeEasing Morning Transition Time at Home - Atypical Guidance

For the atypical child transitions can create enormous challenges.  If you are reading this you surely have experienced these difficult moments with your son/daughter.

Morning can be a major transition time as you try to get your child ready for school.  The influx of stimuli your child receives upon awaking can create tremendous anxiety.  Using a gradual alarm that slowly increases in volume and/or vibration may be less jarring.  Having to choose clothes to wear also contributes to the anxiety level of atypical children.  This may be due to sensory sensitivities causing your child to feel uncomfortable and distracted by the feel of the fabric, annoyance of labels, or even the pattern of certain articles of clothing.  Choosing the clothing the night before with your child can help to alleviate the issue.  As a parent of an atypical child, it is always important to include your child in making choices/decisions about things that will affect their day.  As you and your child continue to prepare for the day ahead you will need to navigate breakfast time as this can also be a challenging time.  Some atypical children are very particular about what foods they are willing to eat.  Again, sensory sensitivities can create many issues for the atypical child.  The texture, smell, and appearance of the food can create difficulties if your child does not feel comfortable with his meal.  Creating a menu with your child for the week may work to make meal time smoother.  Slowly introducing new items is suggested to help your son/daughter expand his/her acceptable food choices.

Being prepared to leave the house is of the utmost importance.  Having all the needed supplies ready to go will work wonders in having a calmer exit.  Have a set time each evening where you and your child pack all their school necessities in their backpack and leave it by the door.  Having a visible checklist by the door will relieve the last-minute hunting for missing items which creates an enormous amount of anxiety for both you and your atypical child.

With these strategies in place, you will also need to utilize some of the following ideas to assist your child in getting ready in a timely manner.

Some strategies that may work to ease morning transition are:

-Use pictures of what the transitions times look like and discuss these times with your child.

-Countdown timers work for some children.  There are many on the market and it may take some trial and error to choose one that works for you son/daughter.

-Verbal reminders:  By partnering with your child, you can both create a time frame for each event.  Saying “You have 15 more minutes before we….”  Followed by several additional announcements which will help to ease into the next activity.

-Praising your child at various intervals when they are attempting to follow the routine are invaluable.  Remember you are your child’s safe place where they can try anything while still being supported and encouraged.

-Eliminating confusion – Having a clearly defined plan in place will help to eliminate confusion that many atypical children experience.  Being unsure of what is expected of them and how to successfully carry out those expectations cause anxiety which is the cause of many meltdowns and tantrums.

As a parent you would do yourself a favor to remember not to expect perfection.  Your child will require your patience, support, and assistance with these morning routines.  Working with your atypical child to revise routines will be helpful for all.

The main goal is to create a peaceful environment in which your atypical child can succeed.  Lessening the causes of anxiety will positively affect how your son/daughter functions at transitions times.  Remaining calm and positive when interacting with your atypical child is paramount to success at these times for both you and your child.

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