Preschoolers don’t always wait nicely. And toddlers hardly ever do! Here some tips you can use in your preschool or daycare to help make those transition times less stressful.
5 Ideas to Make Classroom Transitions Easier
1. Give Your Students a Task to Do
Tasks give your students something to focus their energy on. For example, you can provide students with small dust pans. Then they can clean up under the tables while waiting for the restroom!
The task doesn’t have to be difficult, or even necessary. Often, we like to do stuff ourselves so that it’s done quickly or “right.” But, students can learn discipline from doing a job. Plus it helps keep them out of trouble during transitions.
2. Sing a Song
Lead your students in a song or finger play while they are waiting. This entertains them so that they are busy doing something as a group instead of wandering into chaos.
For example, if a student is finishing in the restroom before you go outside, you could sing some familiar songs to help the kids wait nicely by the door.
3. Play a Game
Make a contest out of waiting nicely. Or try interacting in a game of “I Spy” or spotting patterns. Maybe you can play Simon Says or review the day’s lesson.
Basically, just encourage the kids to do something with their mouths or bodies that’s appropriate. If you don’t, they’ll still find something to do. And chances are that probably won’t be appropriate.
4. Give Activity Choices
Just because the kids are waiting doesn’t mean they have to wait aimlessly.
For example, while I’m cooking lunch, the kids clean the playroom. When they’re finished, we usually have some extra time. But, we also don’t want to make a mess.
So they spend some a few minutes reading or playing with one specific toy, like blocks. These things can be quickly put away when it’s time for washing hands. Plus, they are somewhat calm and quiet so we can get our bodies ready for sitting at the table.
5. Keep Them Short
Don’t forget that young kids can have a short limit. Especially when they’re hungry or tired! So try to make the times your students have to wait as short as possible.
And if something isn’t working, just try switching it up. For instance, if you have a long bathroom wait after lunch, try letting the kids get their mats out and get ready for nap while they wait. The most important thing is to tune in to your kids and recognize what they are or aren’t able to handle.
More Transition Ideas
What do you do in your classroom to make transition times less stressful? Comment below and share your ideas!