What are transition times? These are the periods of time between activities. It can be the period of time waiting for all of the children to finish a task, or it can be waiting in line to wash hands. Transition times should last only a few minutes.
Change as a rule is not something any of us deal with easily, for children it can be particularly stressful. Children tend to act up during this time which is why it is a great idea to have transition activities organized to ease into the next activity.
Children respond well to transition activities that are fun. Transitions that they can participate in gather their attention and accentuate the positive rather than negative behavior. A simple game of clapping hands in a pattern for them to repeat will surely get their attention. There are signal phrases as well that can be spoken to obtain a particular response from the children.
One example of using signal phrases came when I was a Director for the Boys and Girls Club. I would walk into a room full of 200 children, say something in a loud voice like “surfs up” and the children would shout back “Hang 10”. I had another signal phrase that I have used for many years with my preschoolers. That was “Stop and give me 5.” The object of this exercise was to get the children’s attention without yelling, or stressing anyone out. The kids knew that when I raised my hand and said stop and give me 5 that they were to stop what they were doing and come to where I was standing in the classroom.
I have found in my years of teaching that in order to get positive results, you must keep it simple, and upbeat! I cannot stress that enough. Children (and adults) tend to tune you out if you are using a gruff voice….If you have an element of fun in your request, and reinforce good behavior with praise, the children will respond in a favorable way.
Here are some transition ideas that may come in handy for you:
• Sing a song
• walk backwards
• Pick an animal to imitate while standing in line
• Learn a new chant (create one specific for your group!)
• Clap hands in patterns
• Play Simon Says
• Have a contest
There are many other transition ideas. Click here and you will be taken to a new page which has some transition poems/chants on it.
If you have a transition idea that you would like to contribute EMAIL me and I will post it, giving you full credit for the idea. 🙂