Carolyn Dalgliesh, founder of Systems for Sensory Kids, is thrilled to be doing a four-part guest blog series for 46 Mommas Shave for the Brave – The 46 Mommas are on a mission to raise awareness, raise funds for research and inspire others to help fund a cure for childhood cancer.  As a professional organizer and a “sensory” mom, Carolyn is honored to be a sponsor of 46 Mommas and to have an opportunity to support these amazing parents with sensory organizing tips!  

Successfully Managing Transitions

Many children who are living with a medical condition and/or innate neurological challenges (like those living with ADHD/ADD, anxiety disorder, OCD, sensory processing disorder or autism) develop anxiety and stress around any sort of change or unfamiliar situations.  Here are some simple tips to help you support your child’s anxiety around transitions:

1. SET EXPECTATIONS

Use a daily or weekly calendar so your child has a visual map of the day and knows when transitions might be happening.  Be mindful of how much preparation time is needed for your child.  For example, a child with a processing delay might need a map of the week to help them absorb what is coming while a child who worries might just need 24 hours at a time.

2. DRAW A MENTAL PICTURE

Often children living with anxiety and/or stress have a hard time picturing what might be coming.  You can help them draw a mental picture about the upcoming experience, person, or place.  A few ways you can do this is by checking out information on-line, role-playing, or using information from previous, similar experiences.  Other tools include making a visual booklet about the person, place or experience, creating a checklist about how an experience might unfold, or a creating a scavenger-hunt like game when in a new place.  Taking some time to prepare before and/or while in an uncomfortable or unfamiliar transition can help children get over-the-hump and get started.

3. HIGHLIGHT HAPPY

Highlight the Happy place, thought, feeling, person, and/or thing that they might experience as a result of making it through the transition.  Incorporate this in the mental picture and visual aids you create.  When doing something challenging, most of us need something to work towards and children are no different.  Finding that small thing that your child will connect to can make all the difference in pushing through uncomfortable times and uncomfortable feelings.

Begin to tame transition anxiety for your child.  By setting expectations, helping your child draw a mental picture, and highlighting the happy – you can begin to give your child some control over uncomfortable and unfamiliar transitions.   Simple supports for more peaceful days!

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