Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Offer choices about ending activities.

What you can do

Help smooth transitions by giving your child options. Look for ways to build in rewards for making good choices.

For example, let your child choose between continuing a fun activity for 15 minutes or moving on to the next task in five minutes. Make it clear that if he chooses to wrap up the fun activity quickly, he’ll have a chance to return to it later in the day for a longer period of time.

What you can say

“Jacob, you need to stop playing that game soon and do your homework. You have two options. You can keep playing for 15 minutes. Or you can start doing your homework in five minutes and have time to play the game for 30 minutes tonight before bedtime. If you keep playing now, though, you won’t be able to play again tonight.”

Why this will help

Creating positive incentives as well as opportunities to have fun will make switching activities less of a battle.

Giving children the ability to make choices will also help boost their self-esteem and sense of independence. It also makes them look a little more closely at planning out their day, which is a good thing for children to practice doing on an ongoing basis.

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