By Komal Noordin, MS, BCBA

Many children struggle with transitioning from a preferred activity to a non-preferred activity. For example, they may not want to stop playing to do their homework.  Here are some suggestions to help make transitions easier.

1. Timer

           Setting a timer and letting your child know how much longer they have before it’s time to clean up or leave a setting is an excellent tool. It is important to then actually have your child transition once the timer goes off. Heavily reinforce your child as they transition (praise, positive reinforcement). You can use the timer on your phone or use a Children’s Countdown Timer app. 

2. Visual Schedule 

            A visual schedule is a great tool that can be adapted for any age and will allow a child to visualize their entire day and help them expect what’s next.  You can use photos, pictures from online, or hand draw pictures to represent the activities. You can tape a list to your child’s bathroom mirror to help cue them for the steps to get ready for bed.

3. Social Stories

           A social story is a personalized story created for a child that allows them to prepare ahead of time for bigger transitions (trips, moves, new school, etc.).

4. Token System (Sticker Chart)

            A token system is any type of generalized reinforcement system. Think money! Green paper doesn’t hold any value in itself. However, the fact that it can be traded in for things we need and want is reinforcing. Tokens serve the same purpose. Set up a contingency where your child can earn a token (sticker, marble, check mark, etc.) every time they transition without non-desired behaviors. The child can then trade in those tokens for an agreed upon reinforcer (prize!). 

Please contact us if you have any questions or need help trying out one the strategies (901)328-2110 or