Smooth transitions: entering and departing the child care setting

Transitions… arriving and departing… are some of the most frustrating times of the day in a child care setting. The longer and more often children have to wait, the more likely they are to become restless and misbehave. Here are some tips to improve transition times:

  • Include the transitions in your lesson plans. They have a beginning, middle and end just like other activities you plan.
  • Make sure all the materials you need for the whole day are ready and accessible. This will reduce wait time for the children.
  • Cut back on the total number of transitions in your day. For example, in the wintertime, you may want to have outside time at the beginning and end of your day to eliminate one or two dressing/undressing transitions.
  • Give children ample warnings before the transition occurs and announce what the next activity will be. When you are excited and ready to move on, the children will be also.
  • Be willing to give “difficult” children individual attention before and during the transition. Some children take a little longer than others to clean up and move on and may need to be physically guided through the transition.
  • Give simple, appropriate directions based on the age of the child. A general rule of thumb is one direction (or less) for each year.
  • If children must wait, give them a task they must do.
  • Avoid moving the entire class from one activity to another, if possible. Smaller groups will cut down on confusion and distractions.

Happy transitioning! And be sure to check out our lending library for many more resources! Call us for lending library information: