This week I review a webinar that was presented in the RDI Learning Community by Rebecca Doolittle McFalls. Rebecca talks about different ways handle transitions with your children, with reference to Susan Stiffelmens book, Parenting without Power Struggles.

Why are Transitions so Hard?

Transitions are a normal part of our life and include things like doing homework,  going to the dinner table, playing in the park and getting in the car. School is just around the corner and with it comes the need for having flexible transitions. While we often take these things for granted, to a child with developmental challenges, transitions can often be difficult for these reasons:

  1. The child is asked to transition too fast
  2. There are too many transitions in a child’s day
  3. Child has not developed the skills to understand disappointment

What can we do to make transitions easier?

Slow down: Approach our child more slowly. Move our body to where they are (come along side your child and not at them.)

Notice: Notice what they are doing, be mindful of your body and words in relation to their activity and focus.

Breathe: Breathe and reset before approaching your child, the old story does not have to repeat.You can have a new pleasant experience with this transition.

Try requesting into a yes: By human nature we are less likely to show opposition if we are already saying yes. Prime your child to say or nod yes before you ask them to do something. It will look something like this

Wow, that is really cool, is it a bulldozer?

Child: yes

Can it pick up a lot of stuff?

Child: yes

Is it your favorite?

Child: yes, but sometimes I like the monster truck

That looks like a really fun game, come along to dinner now.

Child: Just a few more minutes

I know a few more minutes would be fun, and it is hard to stop, but we are heading to dinner now.

Child: Oh rats (but comes along)

Every time will not go exactly like this, but only a few positive transitions will help build a stronger relationship.

A few things to remember

  1. Be calm, practice calming our tones and judgments
  2. Be open minded, hear their words and empathize
  3. Be consistent to the end.

This information was taken from a highlight of a webinar for members of the RDI Learning Community. Please contact us for more information about membership at

Rebecca Dolittle McFalls M.H.S, OTR/L is an RDI consultant and occupational therapist.To see more of her webinars please contact us to learn about membership to the RDI Learning Community

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