Transitions can be challenging for children for a variety of reasons and can lead to extreme anxiety, frustration, and challenging behaviors. Here are some common reasons why transitions can be difficult for kids:
- Routine and Predictability: Children often thrive on routine and predictability. Transitions disrupt their established routines and can make them feel uncertain or anxious.
- Sensory Sensitivities: Some children have sensory sensitivities that make transitions more challenging. New environments, sounds, or textures can be overwhelming for them.
- Executive Functioning: The ability to plan, organize, and switch between tasks is a part of executive functioning. Many children are still developing these skills, and transitions require them to shift their focus, which can be tough.
- Communication Difficulties: Children with communication disorders or delays may have difficulty expressing their feelings or understanding what’s happening during a transition.
- Emotional Regulation: Transitions can evoke various emotions, such as anxiety, frustration, or excitement. Some children may have trouble regulating these emotions, leading to challenging behaviors. Stopping a preferred activity is REALLY HARD sometimes.
Even though transitions can be difficult, pediatric occupational therapy can help children make smoother transitions by addressing these challenges:
- Establishing Routines: Occupational therapists can work with families to create consistent daily routines that provide a sense of predictability and structure for the child.
- Sensory Integration: Therapists can address sensory sensitivities through activities that help children better process sensory information and cope with new environments or stimuli.
- Visual Supports: Using visual schedules or social stories, therapists can help children understand and prepare for upcoming transitions, reducing anxiety.
- Executive Functioning Skills: Occupational therapists can work on improving a child’s executive functioning skills, including planning, organization, and flexibility, to make transitions smoother.
- Social and Communication Skills: Therapy can also focus on improving a child’s social and communication skills, making it easier for them to express their needs and understand what’s happening during transitions.
- Emotional Regulation: Occupational therapists can teach children strategies to manage their emotions during transitions, such as deep breathing exercises or self-regulation techniques.
In summary, all kids struggle with transitions, but some children find it especially difficult and it ends up affecting the entire family. Pediatric occupational therapy can be highly beneficial in helping children navigate these challenges by addressing specific needs and providing strategies to make transitions smoother and less stressful.
If you feel like your child is struggling with transitions, call Connect Pediatric Therapy at 402-413-1356 to set up a FREE phone consultation to learn how our clinic can help your family.